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Barthi Airtel Rwanda launches cross-border mobile money in East Africa

19 October 2014, 18:41

Nairobi - With growing competition in mobile banking in the telecoms sector in Rwanda, Barthi Airtel, an India mobile operator, has launched a cross-border mobile money transactions within the East African region, to beef up its position as a leading telecoms.

In a statement issued here Saturday, Barthi Airtel said that it is especially looking to harmonize the mobile money platforms to allow its subscribers to send money across the border within five member countries of the East African Community (EAC).

Mobile money - the use of cell phones for money transfers, payments and more sophisticated financial activities such as credit, savings, and insurance - is increasingly popular in East Africa.

Telecoms experts note that Mobile banking is another milestone in achieving a cash-lite economy, where sending and receiving money through the mobile phone is more flexible, convenient, and faster than using cash.

Experts believe that the shift to cross-border transactions by telecoms will help boost their revenues that have been facing low returns in voice revenues and fragile data that is yet to be conquered by the low cost internet usage.

Expected to be implemented soon, the Barthi Airtel's cross- border mobile money will come as a new tool for the leading giant to shove off the competition from its rival MTN-Rwanda and Tigo Rwanda which launched the same product with their sister company in East African region

It is said that the India's leading mobile operator has already received a great response from customers, including customers with family ties between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, as well as businessmen doing cross-border trade. "This is the result of deep understanding of consumer needs combined with an innovative portfolio of products including money transfers, payments, airtime reloads, cross-border transfers and bank integration," the statement said.

In march 2012, Barthi Airtel launched its operation in Rwanda in a move to expand its footprint on the African continent to 17 countries.

Ericsson, the world's leading provider of services and technology to telecom operators, was selected to manage the network from end-to-end, including OSS/BSS solutions and managed services.

Airtel has also partnered with IBM in a move that will enable the telecom to offer superior customer experience in Rwanda.

Rwanda is among the fastest growing telecom markets in Africa and, according to the National Statistics Institute of Rwanda, mobile penetration in the country was at 62 percent as of August 2013.

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