Vodafone plans to close its immensely popular M-Pesa service in South Africa on June 30 this year. The company had recently mentioned that it has close 25 million active customers for this particular services.
M-pesa was recording close to 27.1% year-on-year growth, which was boosted by the launch of services in new markets, such as Albania and Ghana, with more than 261,000 agents supporting the service in 11 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Over the past 12 months Vodafone has entered a series of deals with partners to allow for cross-border and cross-service transactions using M-Pesa.
These include global agreements with the international money transfer hubs TransferTo and MFS, as well as an arrangement to allow direct-money transfer between M-Pesa and users of MTN Mobile Money in seven East African countries.
“I am delighted and proud that M-Pesa has reached the 25 million active customers milestone,” Vodafone group director of mobile money Michael Joseph said. “M-Pesa continues to expand, evolving beyond traditional money transfers to encompass savings and loans, payment of salaries and benefits, settlement of utility bills and school fees and to enable vital health and agricultural solutions.”
Despite the growth, Vodafone’s South African subsidiary Vodacom recently announced it will discontinue its M-Pesa offering in South Africa effective June 30. However M-Pesa would continue to be offered in other markets where access to banking services is limited.
According to Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, the telco decided to drop the service because “the business sustainability of M-Pesa is predicated on achieving a critical mass of users. Based on our revised projections and high levels of financial inclusion in South Africa there is little prospect of the M-Pesa product achieving this in its current format in the mid-term.”