Telkom returns to mobile money business with T-kash

Telkom T-kash launch
From left: Communications Authority director general Francis Wangusi, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Telkom board chairman Eddy Njoroge, Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere and Telkom CEO Aldo Mareuse during the launch of T-Kash on March 12, 2017. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Telkom Kenya has on Monday reopened its mobile cash unit as it eyes a slice of Kenya's lucrative mobile money market.

The new service, dubbed T-kash, has slashed transaction prices by between Sh2 and Sh30 for withdrawals compared to market leader Safaricom's #ticker M-pesa service.

"This is a key feature and we are aware we were behind because of lack of this," said Telkom Kenya chief executive officer Aldo Mareuse Monday citing customer concern over absence of a mobile money service within its offering.

"We have invested about Sh1 billion in this feature," he said during the launch of the product.

Telkom had terminated its mobile money service mid last year with Mr Mareuse saying it was because Orange Money was not up to standards the firm wanted.


More agents

At the time of its termination, Orange Money had the second-lowest number of subscriptions and the smallest agent network.

Telkom has indicated it will now deploy 20,000 agents across the country as it eyes a slice of the sector's billions currently dominated by M-Pesa.

Fix dominance

Mr Mareuse and chairman Eddy Njoroge urged the sector regulator to implement recent findings of a study by consultants Analysys Mason who were hired to study telecoms market dominance.

Their findings have tried to address concerns of smaller market operators by proposing active regulation of Safaricom’s standard tariffs and permanent loyalty schemes, which Safaricom has dismissed as retrogressive.

There's also a planned implementation of mobile money interoperability between telecoms operators that is now being piloted by Safaricom and Airtel.

Airtel and Telkom have previously accused the market leader of using its position to lower prices to a level that condemns competitors to losses.

Telkom last year said it is banking on the government to enforce the report to turn around its loss-making business.