In June this year, the BOU licensed three firms to undertake mobile money services under new rules that require them to delink from mobile cash transfer from communication services for ease of regulation.
Bank of Uganda licensed three new companies
These new licenses were given to Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Ltd, MTN Mobile Money Uganda Ltd, and M/s Wave Transfer Limited, which was permitted to operate under the regulatory sandbox set up.
Other applicants included Africel, Mcash, Ezee Money, Interswitch and Uganda Telecom.
Airtel Uganda transferred in Mobile Money Business to Airtel’s affiliate, Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda Limited.
AMC will now do the Airtel Money Services together with Airtel Uganda. Customer experience remains unchanged.
According to Manoj Murali, the Managing Director of Airtel Uganda, the new company will be regulated and supervised by the BOU.
Customers have expressed fears that these new changes could affect safety of the cash, compromise the quality of services and increase the cost of savings, depositing, withdrawal and transfer of money.
As a result of the separation, the company says that Airtel Money will maintain the same level of safety and protection and comply with Uganda’s privacy and data protection laws and the directives of the Uganda Commissions Commission and BOU.
Mobile Cash operators are expected to pay interest on the mobile wallets to encourage customers to save, the minimum amount set at USh 500 for Airtel.
Airtel and MTN together have over 20 million mobile money subscribers out of the country’s 24 million.
Figures from the Uganda Communication Commission shows that the total value of all mobile money transactions by all platforms hit US$8.2 billion (USh30 trillion) in Q4, 2020.