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Watch out M-Pesa, Equity Bank wants to transform mobile money in Kenya

• http://www.theguardian.com

Kenya is a regional leader in access and use of financial services, with 77% of the population living within 5km of a commercial bank or mobile money agent, according to a recent report published by Kenya Financial Sector Deepening. Of the total number of financial access points, "mobile money agents represent 75%", a statistic partly explained by the success of M-Pesa.

The pioneering mobile-based money transfer service, launched in Kenya in 2007 by telecomms company Safaricom, has become internationally renowned. Today 15 million subscribers use the service, transacting daily amounts estimated to be close to 60% of Kenya's GDP. But competition is coming.

In April, the Communications Commission of Kenya licensed three new Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). These operators allow companies to provide mobile money services without building new mobile infrastructure by working with existingmobile network operators.

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