Equity Bank has rolled out its thin SIM services in the Kenyan market, following a successful legal battle against East Africa’s biggest telecom Safaricom. The new services will allow Equity Bank customers to send money free of charge; they will only have to pay fees when transferring money from their Equity Bank account to other banks.
James Mwangi, the Equity Group CEO in a statement said that the thin SIM services will also include voice calls, SMS and mobile data services. Voice calls from the Equitel SIM cards to all networks will be charged at Ksh.4 per minute, Ksh.1 per SMS and the mobile money transfer services will attract no charges.
“The free money transfer services are like Internet banking services. What we are saying is why should the low-income people be paying while the rich don’t pay so that when you transfer money from your account to your mother’s account there will be no charge”, said Mwangi, yesterday during the launch.
“With Equitel, you will be able to send money to any telecom, bank account or mobile phone in the country”.
The telecom service provider, Equitel, is operating as Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and is a subsidiary of the Equity Bank. Airtel Kenya‘s infrastructure currently supports Equitel.
Equity Bank has also partnered with switches in Kenya, such as Kenswitch, Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and Paynet. To enable customers send up to Ksh.1 million to any bank at a fee of Ksh.200 throughout the week.
“With the use of the switches that exist in the country, you can now transfer money from one bank to another even on a Sunday. Transfers of money have always been restricted to during the morning hours when clearing house is open. But now we have bypassed clearing because of this interconnection,” Mwangi said further.