Services to reportedly go offline on 14 July; customers given until end of month to withdraw cash.
Vodafone Albania has decided to shut down its M-Pesa mobile money service next week.
RTK Live reported (in Albanian) late last week that the service will be axed on 14 July, and that the operator has given affected customers until 29 July to withdraw any money left in their M-Pesa accounts. Customers won’t be charged for withdrawals.
According to the report, Vodafone has not given an official explanation as to why it is pulling the plug on M-Pesa, just that it was an internal decision.
One possible explanation could be low take up.
M-Pesa claims to be the world’s most successful mobile money service. It is offered in 10 countries and had 29.5 million active customers as of this February.
However, there is no escaping the fact that the majority of those customers are concentrated in just one market: Kenya. Vodafone’s local unit Safaricom was the first to offer M-Pesa, and had 24.8 million registered users, of which 17.6 million were active users, at the beginning of September 2016.
That leaves around 12 million M-Pesa users spread across its remaining nine markets, which includes India, where it is worth noting that Vodafone is the country’s second-largest mobile operator, with 209.8 million subscribers at the end of April.
Albania is not the first market where Vodafone has pulled the plug on M-Pesa either.
In May 2016, Vodafone’s South African unit, Vodacom, discontinued the service on the grounds that high levels of financial inclusion meant that it was unlikely to achieve critical mass.