Airtel, Tigo and Vodacom Agree on Mobile Money Interoperability

Airtel, Tigo and Vodacom customers can now seamlessly send and receive money across networks, thanks to an agreement among three of Tanzania’s leading telecom operators.With Vodacom joining Tigo, Airtel and Zantel’s existing partnership, Tanzania becomes the first African market with full interoperability for mobile money peer to peer (P2P) transfers.

In 2014, Tigo, Airtel and Zantel announced a pioneering interoperability agreement. Since then, their customers have enjoyed interoperability between their mobile money accounts, which has accounted for an increase of 3.5 times the value of total off-network transactions. After announcing it would join the partnership last year, Vodacom has now implemented the deal.

Now customers using Airtel Money, Tigo Pesa and M-Pesa can conveniently send and receive funds directly to and from mobile wallets of the three providers using the same P2P tariffs.

Interoperability has been enabled by secure technical integration of the Airtel Money, Tigo Pesa and M-Pesa platforms, and aligned customer service, settlement and compliance processes between the three organizations. This will ensure that customers’ funds are just as safe as always.

With over 16 million mobile financial users in Tanzania transacting the equivalent of over 50% of Tanzania’s GDP each month, the interoperability structured by Airtel, Tigo and Vodacom offers great benefits to both the mobile financial services market and the consumer.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Ian Ferrao, Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director said “This is a great evolution of the mobile money service in Tanzania and a first of its kind in the world. Vodacom is committed to creating a cashless society and through this partnership our customers can enjoy more flexible payment options and fully participate in the formal financial ecosystem. Such innovation truly speaks to financial inclusion as it helps draw more cash into the formal financial system and helps improve our customers’ lives by simplifying transactions and adding speed and convenience to their daily routine – This is just one more way that we at Vodacom ensure ‘Life is Better’ for our customers.”

On his part Airtel Managing Director, Sunil Colaso said “The partnership forged between Airtel Tigo and Vodacom today is a continuation of our commitment to provide Tanzania with the financial inclusion sought by many across the country. Our partnership is aimed at unleashing and fostering innovation, leveraging in the evolution of technology to bring fast and convenient financial services closer to Tanzanians of all socio-economic classes. Airtel Money always brought innovations in to the financial sector adding convenience and eliminating customer pain using world class Fin Tech with value for money to customers.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Tigo Tanzania and Millicom’s Head of Mobile Financial Services, Ruan Swanepoel, said: “We believe interoperability is crucial to the success of mobile money and the wider goal of increasing financial inclusion. It is also a fundamental building block towards constructing a digital economy, enabling merchants and other start-ups to participate in the financial services ecosystem. Our aim going forward is to reach similar agreements with networks in other markets.”