The World Bank has said the mobile money market in Kenya, which accounts for nearly half of the global mobile money subscribers, needs further regulation for fair competition.
M-PESA, owned by Safaricom, currently holds 68 percent of the mobile money market, and Kenya itself is one of the markets where mobile money is most commonly used. Safaricom works on the basis that users can use their mobile phone, and in particular phone credit, as a banking system.
“Today you can use your phone to pay for cab rides and electricity, to get money out of ATMs without owning an ATM card or even having a traditional bank account”, said MIT researcher Nathan Eagle.
Future in Doubt
But the bubble may be about to burst for mobile money in Kenya. The World Bank has described the mobile money providers as unfair. “Additional regulatory attention is also needed for issues of competition and interoperability, like other network industries, economies of scale and high barriers to entry could create uncompetitive market outcomes in the mobile money industry”, said a report issued today.
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47.5 percent of all mobile money users globally are Kenyan, with the system there having a total of 40 million users.
Safaricom have reacted negatively to the World Bank’s report, claiming that M-Pesa is being punished for offering a successful service.