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Safaricom Bans Mobile Money Agents from Handling Rival Networks Services

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Kenya's Safaricom has been accused of abusing its dominant market power after it barred its mobile money agents from acting on behalf of rival networks at the same time.

Both Airtel and Essar Kenya (Yu) had approached mobile money agents offering Safaricom's M-Pesa mobile money service asking them if they wanted to offer the rival services as well.

However, Safaricom has ordered the agents to stick to just one mobile network, theirs.

"By growing our agency network we have demonstrated that there is ample opportunity for our rivals to recruit and invest in their own agents so as to demonstrate their commitment to creating job opportunities for young Kenyans," Safaricom told the Business Daily.

Airtel has taken the matter to the Competition Authority claiming that it is an abuse of market power by the country's largest mobile network.

From a consumer perspective, having mobile money agents able to handle any mobile network would ease processing and lower overall costs for the industry. It would however also enable the smaller networks to massively expand their mobile money service at minimal cost.

Safaricom's market share for the mobile money market is put at around 73 percent, leaving the remaining operators to fight over the scraps.

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Tags: safaricom  m-pesa  Kenya