KENYA: CA removes Equitel from mobile money category


The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has dropped Equitel from the list of mobile money services it regulates, declaring it a banking product.

In the latest quarterly report, Equitel was excluded from the telecommunications sector performance data in what resulted in a decrease in the number of mobile money subscriptions.

“The Authority in the July-September 2019 statistics has revised its data on mobile money services, with the exclusion of data on Equitel Money, which is a mobile banking service as opposed to a mobile wallet service offered by telecommunications service providers,” CA said in the report.

“This reconsideration has occasioned the decrease in the value of transactions as well as indicators on mobile commerce transactions.”

The declaration means that Equitel will now be regulated almost exclusively by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) which oversees banks and their services.

Equitel was launched in 2015 by Equity Bank which had acquired a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence, combining banking and telecommunications services including voice and data on a single SIM card.

Equitel has, however, evolved and is now accessible online through an app in what mirrors similar services from other banks.

Before it was dropped from CA’s purview, Equitel’s subscriber base as at June 2019 was 1.88 million, representing a 3.6 percent market share.

Its mobile money commerce transactions increased to 101 million as at the end of June 2019, up from 87 million in the same period last year, according to the data from the CA.

In its investor briefing for the nine months ended September, Equity said it had 50,077 agents which double up for card and mobile banking transactions.