Vodafone Albania is reportedly in the throes of closing down its M-Pesa mobile money service – a move which could affect as many as 250,000 customers in the country.
A notice sent by the operator to its M-Pesa users revealed the service will cease operations on 14 July. Customers will have until 29 July to withdraw any funds lodged with the service from any Vodafone Albania retail store, with the operator waiving transaction charges, RTK Livereported.
While the news service noted Vodafone Albania is yet to offer an official statement regarding the move, it said the information provided to M-Pesa users in the country cited an internal decision for the shutdown.
Such a move is not without precedent. In May 2016 Vodafone’s South African unit Vodacom announced it was discontinuing M-Pesa after a review concluded it was unlikely to achieve a critical mass of users in the country. It was reported at the time the operator had signed up 76,000 users.
The same rationale may apply to Vodafone Albania. The reported number of M-Pesa users in the country represent a fraction of the 2.3 million subscribers GSMA Intelligence reports the operator had at end-Q1 2017.
Vodafone launched M-Pesa in Albania in 2015 as part of a broader strategy to expand availability of the service in Central and Eastern Europe.