Dar es Salaam — Airtel, Tigo and Zantel have announced a pioneering agreement to allow customers of Airtel, Tigo, and Zantel in Tanzania to send money to each other whether using Airtel Money, Tigo Pesa or EzyPesa on their mobile handsets.
The service is expected to begin this month.
This is the first agreement in Africa to adopt such "interoperability" whereby mobile network operators allow their customer to send and receive money across their networks and the e-money goes directly to the respective customer's e-wallet account.
In the early years of the mobile industry, such agreements were common for both voice calls and SMS text messaging.
With this agreement, customers of the three telecommunications companies will be able to send money, by mobile, directly to each other.
Airtel Tanzania's Managing Director Sunil Colaso said: "Airtel is committed to introduce customers to services that are based on a need.
This is a tremendous evolution towards ensuring the mobile commerce inclusion sought by many Tanzanians, especially taking into account Airtel's broad reach across the country. Today's partnership will bring all existing and potential consumers closer to arm's reach of mobile money services."
Diego Gutierrez, Tigo's General Manager for Tanzania, commented "We are delighted to work with Airtel and Zantel to extend the mobile money universe in Tanzania. With even more transactions possible, our customers' money is made even more safe and secure with this technology.
Just as we co-operate with our competitors on voice calls and text to help our customers, so we hope to be able to do the same with mobile money and help make Tanzania a global pioneer in digital financial inclusion."
Zantel's Managing Director Pratap Ghose, said "Zantel has a strong commitment to excellence and innovation, and thus is happy about this partnership which will enable all our customers to conduct their businesses efficiently and with ease across Tanzania.
"Zantel is proud to have been the pioneer in launching Mobile payments in 2008; and hence will work with the industry and the regulatory bodies to ensure that we offer 'best in class' service to our customers" added Ghose.
The three companies also paid tribute to the Bank of Tanzania for facilitating interoperability, the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and IFC for playing the leading role on this initiative.