Telecoms company Airtel Kenya splits mobile money after selling minority stake

KENYAAirtel Group, a telecoms company, has announced that its Kenyan subsidiary, Airtel Kenya will be splitting its mobile money business, Airtel Money, from its main company.

Airtel Money will now be operating under the name ‘Airtel Money Kenya Limited’.

“Following this business separation, Airtel Money Kenya Limited will take over and continue the provision of the Airtel Money Services, in collaboration with the licensed telecommunications network of Airtel Networks Kenya Limited,” read part of a statement by the company.

Airtel says that customers that continue to use Airtel Money services agree that their personal information and accounts will still be shared between Airtel Money Kenya Limited and Airtel Networks Kenya Limited.

“The continued use of the Airtel Money Service shall be deemed as proof of the customer’s acceptance of the transfer of their Airtel Money Account and related Customer Data and or sharing of the Customer Data between Airtel Money Kenya Limited and Airtel Networks Kenya Limited,” the statement continues.

Airtel Money is the country’s second-most popular mobile money platform after Safaricom’s payments powerhouse M-PESA, which enjoys a 99% market share.

Airtel’s mobile money division hasn’t been as impactful as the telecom it has split from in contrast. In June of this year, Airtel Kenya sold 25.77% of its Airtel Money business in shares in order to raise more capital for the company’s continued operations.

Airtel Kenya raised US$550 million after the transaction, selling shares to four companies, namely Rise Fund (investing US$200 million), followed by Qatar Holding LCC (US$200 million), then Mastercard (US$100 million) and finally Chimera Investment LLC (US$50 million).

The group has conducted similar stake shedding in the past, with Airtel Africa ceding ownership of its mobile money stake in other African markets like Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia.

Airtel Kenya Buys Additional Spectrum

Meanwhile, Airtel Kenya Networks Ltd has bought 60 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 2600 MHz band from the Communications Authority of Kenya for US$40 million.

The license for the spectrum is valid from July 2022, for a period of 15 years.

Airtel Africa says the additional spectrum will support its 4G network capacity expansion in the market for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability and will allow for future 5G rollout.

In April this year, Airtel Kenya paid KSh1.13 billion (US$9.52m) to the Communications Authority of Kenya for a network license, as it sought to offer additional data services to customers without increasing bundle charges.

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