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Airtel feted at MVNO industry world congress

24 April 2015, 12:59 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - Airtel Africa has won a global award at the prestigious Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) industry world congress in Nice, France.

The award comes a year after the operator announced its strategic decision to move into MVNO business and host on its Kenyan network. 

The announcement was made at the 3rd Annual international MVNO industry awards ceremony on 22 April, 2015, Nice, France. The awards are designed to champion success and celebrate excellence in the MVNO industry.

Airtel’s first ever MVNO partnership was with Equity Bank in September 2014.

The MVNO allows the bank customers to access all their banking products and services - credit, savings, insurance, payments, transaction processing, brokerage, custodial and investment services – through the mobile device and channel while enjoying their GSM services on the same SIM card, simplifying the life of the consumer while creating a ‘cash lite’ economy. 

The MNVO, trading as “Equitel”, has in about 6 months of operations grown its MVNO customer base to over 600,000 subscribers, over 70% of these actively using both the mobile and financial services offered by the MVNO.“This recognition is a pleasant surprise. The launch of MVNOs is in line with Airtel’s innovation and differentiation agenda. We strongly believe that the entry of the MVNO into the Kenyan market will stimulate and sustain overall market growth through a new range of innovative products and service propositions that will give more choice and value to consumers. Our MVNO with Equity Bank offers an ideal model of collaboration between banks and telecoms, allowing convergence of mobile and banking, with the customer in mind,” Airtel Africa CEO Christian De Faria said.

The Equity Bank MVNO partnership is rolling out a new paper-thin SIM card that is affixed on the primary traditional SIM card, potentially converting each handset into a ‘dual’ SIM handset and eliminating the need to purchase a new handset. 

This ultimately lowers the barrier to entry for the budget constrained consumer and low-income segment while fulfilling their need for mobile and financial services. 

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