MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Telkom Kenya Shutting Down Its Orange Money Mobile Money Service

Telkom Kenya, a telecommunications provider in Kenya, recently announced that July 4 will be the last day it will offer the mobile money service Orange Money. Orange Money reportedly has failed to compete with similar services offered by mobile network operators in the country, such as such Safaricom and the local arm of India’s Airtel, as a result of “only [being able to] perform limited transactions.” In the future, Telkom Kenya intends to re-launch a different mobile money platform with an emphasis on “interoperability,” allowing users to send money to and receive payment from people on competing mobile money systems.

Telkom Kenya reports that its Orange Money service facilitated transactions worth KSH 80 million (USD 774,000) via 800 agents in the country during the last three months of 2016. The name Orange Money is a remnant of Telkom Kenya’s past ownership by French telecommunications provider Orange SA. The private equity arm of UK-based Helios Investment Partners bought Telkom Kenya in 2015.

Founded in 1999, Telkom Kenya provides telecommunications services to 5 million individuals, companies and government entities as of 2016. Helios Investment Partners owns a 60-percent stake in Telkom Kenya, and the government of Kenya holds the remaining 40 percent. Telkom Kenya is also affiliated with South Africa-based Telkom, which operates in 38 African countries.

Founded in 2004, Helios invests primarily in Africa through its credit and private equity divisions. The firm has holdings in commodities, natural resources, telecommunications and various debt instruments. It managed total assets of USD 3 billion as of 2016.

Paris-based Orange offers fixed telephony, mobile telephony and internet services in 30 countries. Since 2000, it has been owned by France Télécom. At the end of 2016, Orange’s customer base included 263 million customers, including approximately 120 million in Africa. The firm’s consolidated revenues reached EUR 40.9 billion (USD 45.7 billion) in 2016.

By Jacob O’Driscoll, Research Associate

Sources and Additional Resources

Citizen TV: Telkom Kenya to terminate Orange Money service

Telkom Kenya

Helios Investment Partners

Orange SA

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