Tanzanians should soon be able to shop online and pay for bills using their mobile phones.

Wide International Network, a Tanzanian company, is to offer about 30 services in the financial, business, tourism, education, manufacturing and health sectors by March. Payment will be through the banking services rather than via a pre-paid system. The two banks involved are Barclays and Commercial Bank of Africa.

The network is designed to offer several types of payment; via credit and debit cards, transfers from bank accounts and money transfers via companies such as Western Union.

The service has already been accepted by mobile service providers Zain and Safaricom, which already offers money transfers via its pre-paid M-Pesa service that largely bypasses the conventional banking system.

It is estimated that about ten million Tanzanians use mobile phones but less than two million have bank accounts.

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