Jamii Telecommunication Limited (JTL) has signaled a possible mobile money entry with Faiba Money.
JTL has already applied to register trademarks for mobile money and payment services.
Mobile money transfer services are considered the most lucrative segment of the telecom business and that may explain why Jamii wants a piece of the pie.
Reports indicate that JTL applied for five new trademarks including Faiba Mobile and Faiba Pay.
The Business Daily reports that these trademarks appeared in the June edition of the Industrial Property Journal.
In an interview, JTL chairman said that the trademarks were the company’s strategy of protecting its brand.
He said that at this point in time, mobile money is not the company’s focus.
He, however, went on to reveal that while Jamii is yet to seek regulatory approvals for mobile money, there is a possibility of a future roll out.
The new product will be among other products such as the company’s internet services.
Faiba Money and the Crowded Segment
The entry of Faiba money into the already crowded mobile money segment is expected to intensify competition.
Although Safaricom’s mobile money solution M-PESA dominates the mobile money transfer segment, other players such as Airtel Money, Equitel Money, and Mobile Money are still competing in the same space.
At present, M-PESA boasts the highest number of subscriptions with over 22 million subscribers and over 130 money agents countrywide.
The third quarterly sector stats report by the Communications of Kenya (CA) revealed that M-PESA transactions stood at Ksh. 890,274,606.
Faiba Money will not have it easy since it may take a lot of convincing for users to make a switch.
This is mostly because existing competition has loyal users who may not be willing to switch to Faiba Money.
Airtel Money supports free cash transfers but the switch has not been felt. The mobile money transfer service is still categorized in the “others” category.
Orange Money (it is awaiting rebranding) has not had it easy in this segment as well.
M-PESA has enjoyed a high level of loyalty and growth and this explains why other service providers namely Airtel Money and Orange Money are yet to gain target subscription rates.
This just goes to prove that there is tough competition in the market. Thus, Faiba Money will not have it easy.
But, there is hope:
Should Faiba Money offer innovative features, then it would be easier to convince people to switch.
Case in point, Eazzybanking, the Equity bank mobile banking App, subscription numbers keep rising given the robust experience it offers. The wide range of services has definitely made life easier for Equity customers; hence, the rising user base.
Also, Safaricom has proved reliable and this has not only earned the telco more subscriptions but also loyalty. It also had a wide reach and this explains the high subscription rates.
As long as the product comes with added benefits, perceived or real, the number of subscriptions could be more. The opposite could be true if no innovation is involved.
As is tradition, The Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) has given the public 60 days to protest the new trademarks.