Tanzania’s mobile money penetration reached 53% with 29.7 million mobile money subscriptions in 2020 for a transaction value of USD 81 bln.
In June 2020, 272,339,270 mobile money transactions took place, for a total value of USD 4.6 billion.
There are six mobile operators offering mobile money services in Tanzania: Vodacom with M-Pesa (39%), Tigo with Tigo Pesa (30%), Airtel with Airtel Money (20%), Halotel with Halopesa (7%), TTCL (3%), and Zantel with Ezy Pesa (1%).
Tanzania Mobile Money Uses
Mobile money has evolved from traditional payments such as domestic remittances and airtime top-ups, to more complex financial products.
The 2017 FinScope report by the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) indicates that of the 43% of adults in Tanzania who save, 35% do so through their mobile wallets.
Furthermore, of the 44% of adult Tanzanians who borrow, 4% do so via mobile money and 3% from banks.
The report also shows that between 2013 and 2017, the total number of adults using financial services grew by 15%, with those using mobile financial services rising by 38%.
Mobile money is also used for utility services payments. In Tanzania, the Dar Es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation enabled water payments via mobile money in 2009. By 2013, mobile money payments had increased utility revenues by USD 45,000 per month.
Additionally, more than 70% of electricity bills in the country are now paid through mobile money services.
Tanzania Mobile Money Interoperability
Mobile providers in Tanzania began to interconnect their services first with a bilateral arrangement between Tigo and Airtel in September 2014 (with the official commercial launch in February 2015).
In December 2014, Tigo connected with Zantel, and in February 2016, Vodacom announced connecting with Airtel and Tigo.
By the beginning of 2016, Tanzania was the first country in the world to achieve full interoperability, i.e. the ability of users of different mobile money providers to transact directly with each other.
International interoperability is also a reality in Tanzania thanks to the partnerships of mobile money operators with international money transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union.
Vodacom Tanzania also allows for operator-to-operator international money transfer interoperability through its partnerships with Safaricom in Kenya.
Airtel and Tigo also allow their users to send money internationally to subscribers of Airtel or Tigo in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
In 2021, Vodacom Tanzania has initiated the second phase of its International Money Remittance expansion scheme that allows for direct money transfers from M-Pesa to all bank accounts in East Africa.
In 2013, B-Pesa was introduced in Tanzania becoming the first prepaid card in the country. This card allows a customer to transact at any B-Pesa member bank or any B-PESA merchant.
B-Pesa allows the customer to have the flexibility of card to card transfers, dispense cash, deposit cash, and pay bills.
BitPesa, an online platform to convert digital currency such as bitcoin into local African currencies, expanded to Tanzania in November 2015.
Since then, BitPesa offers instant payments to and from 7 different mobile money networks and over 60 banks in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Last Updated: 27th September 2021
Sources: BOT, GSMA, TCRA, VODACOM