Equity Bank to introduce Equitel in other Africa subsidiaries


Equity Group is set to extend the coverage of its mobile platform Equitel beyond Kenya to all markets where the group operates.

Speaking to Paris-based special report publisher Marcopolis, Equity Group CEO Dr James Mwangi said that Equity through Finserve Africa, the group’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), is partnering with mobile network operators in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC to roll out Equitel in these markets.

“Mobile devices have become our delivery terminal of choice. Essentially what we have done is to replicate the success of Kenya in the 5 other countries that we operate in. We have formed partnerships with mobile network operators so that we can leverage on their infrastructure without having to incur the cost of infrastructure. That leaves the bank with a lean and low cost infrastructure, while at the same time enhancing the sticking ability on the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) and significantly reducing their problems in terms of users,” said Dr Mwangi.

Equitel will ride on particular telecom operator networks in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Equitel which was launched in July 2015 currently has 2 million active subscribers. As at end of the first quarter of 2016, Equitel users transacted Kshs 62.5 billion while the value of mobile loans stood at Kshs 14.1 billion over the same period.

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Equitel users through the “Eazzy Loan” product can borrow up to Kshs 3 million repayable over a 12-month period.

According to the latest industry stats from Communications Commission of Kenya (CA) covering the period from January to March 2016, the number of mobile money transfer subscriptions was recorded at 24.8 million subscriptions whereas the number of mobile money transfer active agents stood at 147,761. The volume of transactions (deposits and withdrawals) was 348.8 million, with Kshs 840.3 billion being transferred among users during the period. \

Mobile commerce recorded 190.3 million transactions that saw Kshs 312 billion used to pay for goods and services. The person-to-person transfers stood at 396.7 billion as at the end of the quarter under review. Overall, there was increased activity in the mobile money service during the period and this was attributed to the busy back-to-school season during which parents and guardians actively deposited, transferred, withdrew, paid school fees and purchased other goods and services using this platform due to its reliable and convenient nature.