Telkom Kenya is switching out its Orange Money service for a new platform in order to better compete with Kenya’s mobile money market leader, m-Pesa.
The operator’s CEO Aldo Mareuse said that the new service would be more cost-efficient and offer better functionality than the Orange Money offering, which he noted compared unfavourably to m-Pesa in terms of certain core products. He noted that this was a factor in Telkom Kenya opting out of a government initiative to sell bonds via mobile money platforms.
The new mobile money platform looks set to be a key part of Telkom Kenya’s broader shift away from the Orange brand, following Orange’s 2016 sale of its 70% stake in the operator to Helios Investment Partners. The agreement reportedly stipulated that Telkom Kenya would be able to use the Orange brand for a further 18 months.
The most recent available data (October to December 2016) from the Communication Authority of Kenya positions Orange Money squarely behind its main rivals by all key measures. Over this quarter, Orange Money had 194,322 active subscribers – lagging far behind m-Pesa’s 21.6 million and Airtel Money’s 6.7 million.
Even smaller services such as Equitel Money, Mobikash and Tangaza Pesa were registering more subscribers than Orange Money. The service was only accepted by 800 agents, compared to m-Pesa’s 124,084.