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Growth in Kenya mobile money transfers

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 16 – Essar Telecom Kenya is reporting successful progress of its money transfer service YuCash seven months after it was launched.

Essar Telecom Country Manager Atul Chaturvedi says in less than a year, more than 350,000 customers have already subscribed to the service in more than 900 towns across the country.

Mr Chaturvedi said the response in the market has been ‘healthy’ and is pleased with the uptake of the service.

He said the company, which has close to 1.7 million subscribers, expects to have more than half of its subscribers signed on to the money transfer service.

“With the ongoing SIM registration we expect this number to go higher by the time it is over,” Mr Chaturvedi said.

Yu has 5,000 agents across the country and is currently advertising for more agents to boost its presence.

Mobile commerce has become a new fighting ground for mobile operators as they look to use it to lure in subscribers.

Safaricom revolutionised mobile money transfer when it introduced M-PESA in 2007. Latest statistics from the operator indicate that it has so far registered 11.8 million customers and transferred a staggering Sh523.8 billion.

Bharti Airtel, the new owners of Zain Kenya, intends to take the fight to Safaricom in the mobile commerce segment with plans to invest Sh350 million on its Zap money transfer service.

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The investment will go towards increasing its Zap agents from the current 1,700 to 10,000 by the end of the year to give it better visibility among customers.

However, both Yu and Zain are reluctant to give official figures of how much they have been able to transfer arguing it was ‘sensitive information’. They however say they are pleased with the progress of the money transfer systems.

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