In a press interview this week, the Equity Bank CEO Mr. James Mwangi disclosed the plans his bank has of introducing its own SIM card into the market. Disguised under the camouflage of mobile money transfer, the SIM card comes with all other capabilities and can be used for SMS, making calls, data among other banking and money transfer services.
Though brought into the market from the banking sector, the Equity SIM card is a soft way to revenge against the telecommunication industry that has encroached the banking territory in the past through provision of money transfer services. This increased competition for clients between the banks and the telecommunication industry, and it was only expected the banks would react to the same and retain their dominance in the financial sector.
The latest move by Equity Bank therefore opens the floor for such witty reactionary measures from the bankers in order to solidify their customer base. After the failure of M-kesho the concept that Safaricom later implemented successfully with CBA under the brand name of M-Shwari, Equity now takes the telecommunication industry head-on.
By offering all the telecommunication services using their ultra-slim SIM card that turns your phone into a double-SIM card phone without changing the SIM cards, Equity comes in as a game changer to both the banking and telecommunication industry.
The obvious thing to expect next is some crazy innovation from the telecommunication industry to counter Equity’s move; with the fast mover being Safaricom. On the other hand, the other banks will have to duplicate the Equity Bank model or come up with their own innovations aimed at luring customers to their banks and retaining the ones they currently have.
The launch of the Equity Bank SIM card is scheduled for July 2014 in a month’s time. Until then, you can expect the research and development functions of the telecommunication companies and the other banks to have sleepless nights as they work towards countering the competition wave created by Equity Bank.