Kenya’s telecoms firm Orange has partnered with PesaPal, an e-commerce payment services provider, to launch an online airtime top-up service that will allow 24-hour access to the telco’s airtime via credit cards and mobile money.
“Our customers that may have subscribed to other networks due to their voice offerings will now have the flexibility of purchasing data bundles directly from their mobile money accounts,” Orange’s chief executive Mickael Ghossein said.
Ghossein explained that the company was now taking a different approach to airtime distribution by providing more convenient electronic distribution supported by online payments.
“The service aims to grow our airtime distribution by leveraging on existing e-commerce platforms,” he said.
Speaking on the operation of the service, PesaPal CEO Agosta Liko said: “The service is easy to use allowing the customer convenient access as well as a simplified means of topping up their airtime, with a step-by-step guide available for each payment mode selected.”
As part of the deal, PesaPal will gain commission ranging from 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent of the total transactions carried out on its platform, while Orange will benefit from an increased distribution channel for its airtime.
The move is seen as a blow for rival operator Safaricom, the major shareholder in the data market.
Orange has had problems with increasing its data market share, owing to the low numbers of agents across the country capable of enabling its customers to access airtime vouchers conveniently.
The Communications Commission of Kenya’s (CCK’s) latest industry statistics place Orange’s data subscribers at over 674,000, representing a market share of 9.5 percent.