Saturday, 29 February 2020

Bharti Airtel and Western Union unite for mobile money transfers in India and Africa

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 22 January 20

The launch will give customers the ability to transfer money internationally in real time from their mobile phone

In the midst of weathering the storm created by government-imposed AGR payments, Bharti Airtel has partnered with Western Union to launch cross-border mobile money transfer services. The service, expected to launch this year, would offer Airtel’s 550 million Airtel Payments Bank customers the chance to make real…

In the midst of weathering the storm created by government-imposed AGR payments, Bharti Airtel has partnered with Western Union to launch cross-border mobile money transfer services.

The service, expected to launch this year, would offer Airtel’s 550 million Airtel Payments Bank customers the chance to make real-time payments over the phone. 

The 15 million Airtel Africa subscribers across 14 countries will also gain access to this convenience via their Airtel Money mobile wallet.

“Collaborating with Western Union on these two flagship initiatives in both India and Africa reflects Bharti Airtel’s keen commitment to transform the quality of lives of millions of people across emerging and developing markets, providing connectivity and digital empowerment,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel. “We are delighted to contribute to the development of a sound and inclusive payments ecosystem in emerging markets to spur financial inclusion and economic growth.”

The scope of the domestic market for this platform is enormous. India’s unique mobile phone users are expected to increase to a whopping 623 million by 2025, the majority of which will be mobile internet users. 

As well as representing a significant domestic opportunity, Airtel’s move will go some way to unlocking the potential of a huge market of unbanked and underbanked people by increasing financial inclusion. 

Late last year it was estimated that the world’s unbanked population could be worth as much as $250 billion to global GDP.  

In Africa there were 396 million mobile money accounts registered at the end of 2018, at which point sub-Saharan Africa represented 45.6% of global mobile money activity.

Airtel and Western Unions solution will have to compete with several similar services on the African continent, most notably Safaricom’s M-Pesa, which boasts 25.57 million customers in Kenya alone.

 

Also in the news:

Vodafone joins a slew of companies dropping support for Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency

PEACE subsea cable expanding to South Africa

Latin American billionaires could be teaming up to take majority control of Telefonica LatAm

 

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