Money Transfers to M-PESA Subscribers in Kenya Now Available from Western Union

Western Union has announced that consumers can now send money directly to the mobile "wallets" of Safaricom M-PESA subscribers in Kenya from 45 countries and territories - the first service of its kind in the world.

The expansion of the service to more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations worldwide follows the debut of the offering from Western Union Agent locations and its website in the UK.
The service will allow people to visit one of more than 80,000 Western Union Agent locations in 45 countries and territories across the globe, and send funds directly to the mobile "wallets" of M-PESA's 13.5 million subscribers. Funds are delivered generally in minutes.
The service will likely be welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent US$642 million home in 2010 - up from the US$609 million sent home in 2009.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said, "Our customers are very proud of the revolutionary M-pesa service, and this partnership sees us pushing new boundaries to continue to keep Kenya at the forefront of the mobile world. Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances, and the money is available to use straightaway for any M-PESA transaction, or can be withdrawn as cash at any of our 24,000 Safaricom agents."
Western Union offers the Mobile Money Transfer Service in the Philippines with Smart Communications and Globe Telecom; in Malaysia with Maxis; and in Canada with EnStream.
Safaricom Sued by Customers over Number Porting Problems

Kenyan mobile network, Safaricom is being sued by seven of its customers after they claimed that delays in mobile number portability requests resulted in losses to their businesses.

The seven claim that their mobile numbers had been ported but were either fully or partially deactivated on various dates - which they say resulted in lost business.
"The actions of the defendant are unconstitutional, unlawful and meant to force the plaintiff to remain in the defendant's mobile network thereby depriving them their constitutionally protected freedom of consumer choice," read the plaint by Kiarie and Company Advocates.
The launch of Mobile Number Portability in the country has been troubled with allegations flying between the operators and the independent clearing house, Porting Access Kenya they set up to manage the service.
Earlier this month, Porting Access Kenya claimed that the bulk of the delays were due to problems at Safaricom, a claim which the mobile network has denied.
Safaricom later responded by suing the Mnp company for libel.
The telecoms regulator has since stepped into the dispute and is trying to settle the technical difficulties in managing the service.

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