Kenyan authorities approve use of thin SIM tech - CNBC Africa

Kenyan authorities approve use of thin SIM tech

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has given approval for the use of thin SIM technology in the East African country. PHOTO: Getty

The CA said on Monday that the use of thin SIM technology will be used for one year following investigations that the thin SIM does not have any threats to the user.

“CA recently licensed three Application Service Providers to offer Mobile Virtual Networks Operator (MVNO) services. The operators have proposed to use this mobile platform to provide various application services, including money transfer,” the entity said in a statement.

The Kenyan authority has licensed, Finserve Africa Limited, Zioncell Kenya Limited and MobilePay Limited which will all be hosted by Bharti Airtel Kenya, the country’s second largest telecommunication operator.

However, the country’s largest telecommunication network, Safaricom, argued that the SIM card poses countless security threats and should be subjected to independent audits.  

Finserve Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Equity Bank expressed its intention to carry out the mobile payment services. “This is a welcomed development in the sector that continues to attract world-class innovation,” the statement read.

(READ MORE: Kenya's Equity Bank takes on mobile banking landscape)

The entry of the bank with over 8 million customers into the MVNO market is seen as a possibility to finally bring in a force that could dilute the dominance seen in the past years in mobile money market share that is dominated by Safaricom’s M-PESA.

Meanwhile, at the Nairobi bourse, Equity Bank continues to record a stellar performance. The bank became the first financial services firm to be valued at over 200 billion Kenyan shillings. Equity has been performing well since it acquired an MVNO licence to enter into the country’s lucrative mobile money market.

Taisys Technologies, a Taiwan-based SIM manufacturer, will supply the cards during the one-year period. Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) planning to use the thin SIM card locally for mobile money transfer services have also been directed to get approval from the Central Bank of Kenya.