Airtel Kenya ring-fences operations, separates mobile money unit
Airtel Money Kenya Limited (AMKL) has taken over operations of Airtel Money Services, which, until now, has been part of Airtel Networks Kenya Limited (ANKL), according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
This means that AMKL and ANKL are now incorporated in Kenya as separate subsidiaries of Airtel Africa PLC.
Airtel Kenya stated: “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.”
It added that 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.
A statement released by the CBK reads: “The completion of this restructuring enables AMKL to ring-fence its operations and focus exclusively on its mobile money business. Significantly, this sets the foundation for AMKL to enhance governance over its mobile money business, strengthen its operations, and offer better services to its customers.”
The CBK will oversee Airtel Money Kenya Limited as a payment service provider.
The regulator added: “This will allow the PSPs to protect their CBK-regulated activities from shocks emanating from the other business activities, strengthen governance, enhance resilience, and focus on improving its services to customers.”
In September this year, CBK Governor, Patrick Njoroge said that it would be prudent to separate telecoms and mobile money in order to ensure oversight by the right regulators.
Local media has reported on speculation in the market that Safaricom plans a similar strategy to separate M-Pesa, but the company itself has not commented. Telkom Kenya is believed to be pursuing a separation model.
The government has attempted to introduce legislation to force telecommunications companies to separate their core business from their mobile money services operations. The latest attempt was the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, but this did not reach parliament for debate.