Airtel Scraps Mobile Money Charges in Response to COVID-19


VG Somasekhar, the Managing Director of Airtel Uganda
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In a bid to make transacting convenient in the wake of restrictions against persons coming  close contact with each other due to COVID-19, Airtel Uganda has scrapped charges on mobile money transactions.

The telco announced on Thursday that all Person-to-Person transactions will be free for a period of 30 days for any transactions and value.

VG Somasekhar, the Managing Director of Airtel Uganda said that this is aimed at supporting efforts to control the spread of coronavirus by promoting the conversion of physical cash to digital/electronic transactions.

Airtel Money Pay will also be free for all customers and all merchants for the 30-day period.

The telco applauded the government for the continued proactive measures aimed at ensuring the safety of all Ugandans during this period.

Earlier this week, MTN Uganda announced that there will be no charges on all mobile money transaction for transfer of money from one person to another on transactions below Shs 30,000 for a period of 30 days.

MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Wim Vanhelleputte says this followed a discussion with the Central Bank and some escrow partner banks in line with minimizing the risk of transmission of the Coronavirus.

He added that, “There will be no charge for the wallet to bank (W2B) or bank to wallet (B2W) transactions, this is dependant on partnership with the Commercial Banks to ensure transactions are zero rated on both the subscriber wallet and bank account”.

The MTN boss also said there will be no charge for all MoMo pay transactions for customers and merchants.

In the wake of the outbreak which has so far killed more than 7,000 people world over, some analysts in Uganda say it is time that government and telcos consider waiving the charges levied on social media and mobile money.

Uganda passed a law in 2019 which placed a Shs 200 daily tax on access to social media. But with health authorities advising the public to work from home as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, the use of social media for access to information is critical. 

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