The power of Mobile Money as an enabler of financial transactions is beginning to gain ground in Africa. Uganda is a case in point, where more than half of MTN’s customers are Mobile Money enabled and generate over 25 million transactions each month. These were some of the insights shared earlier this week by Shaibu Haruna, MTN Uganda General Manager for Sales and Distribution, as he addressed delegates at the 16th annual AfricaCom conference currently underway in Cape Town.
Haruna was part of a panel discussion on “How do mobile money services fit within mobile operators strategies?”.
Haruna said the mobile money service is rapidly evolving to allow customers to perform a myriad of transactions including money transfers, payments of goods and services and international remittance.
However, he warned that approaching mobile money as just another Value Added Service would be detrimental to the success of the service.
“It is common practice for Mobile Network Operators to approach mobile money deployments as another value added service but are quick to realise that mobile money is a far more demanding service that requires a completely new skill set, organisational design and route to market to make it meaningful.”
He said that the benefits of the mobile money service include a contribution to revenue of the operator, an impact on churn and Average Revenue Per User, as well as an opportunity to leverage on the mobile money agent network, adding that deliberate investment is required from mobile operators, to realise such benefits.
“Building a sustainable mobile money ecosystem requires sustained investment in the technology platform, agent network and consumer education. Key areas of investment include agent training, branding, trade incentive and support. The demands on above-the-line and below-the-line campaigns using foot soldiers have proven impactful but could be costly, especially in the short-run,” said Haruna.
He concluded, that agent network design, speed of product innovation, and ease of use will remain key to market leadership when it comes to mobile money.