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Orange money transfer service on the way

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Mobile phone operator Telkom Kenya\’s money transfer service will soon be in the market, the company officials have disclosed.

Telkom Kenya’s Head of Marketing and Strategy Jean-Michel Chanut told reporters on Thursday that the service, which will be offered on their Orange mobile network, is in response to their subscribers\’ needs.

“This is something that we are doing as a customer need and we are sure that we will be challenging our incumbent mobile operator as soon as we can. We also have plans to demonstrate innovation in this area,” he relayed.

Although Mr Chanut declined to divulge further details regarding their plans, he said the current challenges facing the mobile transfer service would not stop them from venturing into the market.

Safaricom’s M-PESA, which was launched in March 2007 and which is the first of its kind in the world, has dominated the market and caused an uproar from players in the banking sector, as it specifically targeted people who had no access to formal financial services.

The bankers and even some government officials have called for the regulation of MPESA and other subsequent services, citing the need to ensure the system does not operate as a bank without being licensed as one, and that it is not abused for money laundering activities.

Their other competitor Zain Kenya has been having a war of words with the Central Bank of Kenya over a delay in approving a similar service that they intend to launch, not only in Kenya, but in the East Africa region as well.

“We are all gearing up to that direction; although it is a bit confusing because transferring money is only part of the service that a customer may need. There are many aspects to that service,” he said of the service and the debate that it has generated.
At a press conference, Mr Chanut also revealed that they are nearing 500,000 active subscribers on their Orange mobile network.

The company’s GSM network is already in 21 major towns across the country, barely four months after the launch of the network, and plans are underway to expand into more areas using the Orange Fixed Plus and Telkom Fixed services.

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“The successful roll-out is part of our mission to enable more Kenyans to come together and connect with their loved ones,” Mr Chanut boasted.

He spoke during the launch of a service dubbed ‘hello tunes’, which allows customers to select songs for their callers to hear instead of the usual ringing tone.

“The new tunes is just one of several new value added services that Kenyans can expect to see from ‘Orange’ as it continues to differentiate itself in the market,” he pledged.

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