Equity, Airtel team up to launch free money transfer

Monday July 20 2015

The Equity Group has launched its controversial

The Equity Group has launched its controversial thin SIM in a deal with Airtel Kenya to offer voice, data and free money transfer services. PHOTO | FILE 

By LILIAN OCHIENG'

Equity Group, riding on Airtel Kenya infrastructure, has launched its thin SIM to offer voice, data and free money transfer services.

This marks the most significant challenge ever to Safaricom’s M-Pesa transfer service, whose popularity has been a major factor in customer loyalty.

“We are removing barriers of financial inclusion, we are targeting telecoms to compete on data, SMS, voice and all levels of money transfer,” Equity Bank CEO James told a press conference on Monday.

Mr Mwangi said the billions clients spend to send money will no longer be necessary. Equity Group will ride on Airtel's infrastructure to drive its systems.

“We experienced roadblocks on the journey, Equitel will ride on our infrastructure using our free spectrum,”  said Airtel Africa chief executive Christina de Faria.

“You cannot dominate a market or stop innovation,” Equity Bank boss James Mwangi.

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The thin SIM is going for Sh600, and the cost of calling across networks is Sh4 while SMS will cost you Sh1.

Safaricom whose huge market share and profitability continues to draw mixed reactions is also faced with strong headwinds both from the regulator and competition.

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