Kenya's Equity bank is looking to take on M-Pesa with the release of an ultra-thin smart SIM that users can apply to access the bank's mobile money service without needing to use dual-SIM phones.
The paper-thin 'duoSIM', using technology from local company Taisys, is applied as an overlay to a customer's original SIM card to offer mobile financial services irrespective of carrier control. The bank says it will provide the Thin SIMS free of charge to customers as it embarks on a price war with M-Pesa provider Safaricom.
Safaricom earlier this week lost a legal battle to block the roll-out of Equity Bank's Thin Sim technology, when the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) dismissed the telco's objections to the technology. Safaricom had claimed that the dual SIM had the potential steal data from the main SIM and pass it on to third parties.
Equity Bank says it is determined to challenge M-Pesa's near-monopoly in the provision of mobile micropayments to Kenyan citizens. The bank recently secured a license to be a mobile virtual network operator, becoming the first financial services institution capable of challenging the telcos on their own turf.