NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Equity Bank is set to launch its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services in July 2014.
Equity MVNO will simply mirror all its banking services into the mobile phone.
“By linking the account to the mobile phone, customers can apply for loans, move money to and from their bank accounts, pay bills as well as carry out trans-border transactions from their mobile phone,” the bank says.
“All our account holders will receive a SIM card without any ‘know your customer’ (requirement) since its already done while opening the account,” Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer James Mwangi said while unveiling the bank’s MVNO strategy.
Every SIM card will be a debit card, enabling customers to pay for goods by tapping their phones on a mobile point of sale terminal.
The network will allow for seamless money transfer to all banks in Kenya including being Visa and MasterCard enabled. It will also be set up to allow for domestic mobile money services.
Mwangi says mobile money transfers will be charged at one percent of the transaction value compared to the prevailing market charges of 16 percent while instant loans will be available at a maximum of two percent per month compared with the 7.5 percent per month offered in the market.
Mwangi said that Airtel Kenya will support Equity’s delivery of MVNO services without capital investment required by traditional mobile operators.
The bank targets to also launch voice, Data and SMS platform targeting its nine million customers countrywide.
The MVNO license is expected to allow the bank integrate along the value chain by allowing the bank to guarantee network availability.
In addition to hosting fees received, Airtel will also have access to distribute services through Equity Bank’s branch and agency banking network.
Equity Bank will be able to reach other regional markets of East Africa as well.
The bank’s staff began trailing the service on Monday as the final round of testing before the service goes live in July.
The bank has already put in place a 300 seat customer contact centre fully integrated with voice and social media operational 24 hours, seven days a week.
“We feel that innovations and technology have given us a perfect opportunity to continue our tradition of rewarding our customers with control and freedom of choice, all our customers will receive their SIM cards ready for use as soon as we roll out,” he said.
On his part, Airtel Kenya Chief Executive Officer Adil Youssefi said this partnership will increase the company’s revenue by 10 percent.
“This will help us bridge the dominance in telecoms’ space by providing customers with more choice as well as increase uptake of mobile services in Key segments like mobile commerce and data,” Youssefi said.