M-Pesa global transfers climb 300pc

What you need to know:

  • International transfers jumped up by 300 per cent in the quarter, while remittances hit Sh16 billion which is a 44 per cent increase over the same period

Dar es Salaam. Vodacom Tanzania’s international money transfer service netted Sh102 billion between March and June 2020, to cement the growth in the overseas money transfer platform.

International transfers jumped up by 300 per cent in the quarter, while remittances hit Sh16 billion which is a 44 per cent increase over the same period. Vodacom Tanzania has recently rolled out mobile money transfer services across nearly all countries.

“We continued to widen our partner network, with the launch of ‘Mama Money’ and ‘Remitly’ during the quarter, which enabled customers to receive money from South Africa,” said Vodacom in a regulatory statement to the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE).

The telcos recorded mixed fortunes on the backdrop of rapid network expansion and enhanced data experience which saw more users over the recent months. It added 421,000 new customers, bringing its number of subscribers to 14.7 million by June 30, 2020 compared to 14.3 million subscribers the same time last year.

However, the customer base shrunk by 770,000 by June 2020, a five per cent drop in the last quarter. The drop is likely as a result of authorities enforcing mandatory biometric SIM card registration.

Vodacom said in the statement that it added 439,000 M-Pesa customers even though it barred 800,000 M-Pesa customers in the previous quarter over Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority rules.

“We now service 7.1 million M-Pesa customers, marginally lower on year-on-year basis” read the statement. M-Pesa customers were 7.3 million as at June 2019.

Vadocom’s ‘Songesha’ overdraft product offered Sh50 billion to more than 1.5 million customers. “We enhanced this product to include multiple facilities to customers that saw more than 385,000 customers accessing this service.”

Data customers decreased by 4.8 per cent to 7.7 million primarily due to barring of 600,000 data customers in the last quarter over the same SIM card registration rules.

“Our $25 smart-feature phone dubbed ‘Smart Kitochi’ performed well, with a total of 30,000 customers empowered with access to an enhanced data experience.”

The company said the full impact of Covid-19 on the business would be known in due time while SIM card registration rules still remain a major factor.

The company said from January until March 2020, a total of 2.9 million customers were barred from service, with 745 000 others reconnected.

It said 2.1 million SIM Cards, generating more than Sh4 billion per month remain not biometrically registered.

Vodacom also said it was in the process of complying with TCRA’s requirement for a rollover plan for unused data bundle for which the company paid Sh400 million in fines in June.

Additional reporting by Josephine Christopher.