Friday, July 02, 2010

MTN in Africa shows a lot of forward momentum

Whenever mobile money initiatives are quoted, the great work done in Kenya by Safaricom is sure to be mentioned. mPesa has become a well-known brand and rightly so! But the worry has always been that this is the only flash in the pan. Some analysts referred to the advances of Zap on the Zain network . Zain even won a GSMA award in Barcelona for Zap in the beginning of the year. However, many doubts have been raised about the actual success of Zap and the number of real transactions running on the Zain network.

That is why it is great to see the advances that MTN is making with Mobile Money in the many countries that they operate. MTN is the biggest network in Africa and the Middle East (measured on the number of subscribers). They operate networks in some of the most exciting markets in the region (South Africa, Nigeria, Iran) and have consistently grown their turnover and profitability when other networks struggle. While I have intimate knowledge of the different MTN initiatives, I never disclose information that I have that is not in the public domain. That is why I can now use some recent articles referencing some of the big advances in MTN roll-outs:
  • The growth in subscribers in MTN Uganda has been rampant. A service launch just more than a year ago, now have a million subscribers and projects two million by the end of the year. (Read here).
  • Not only does the system in Uganda have a large number of subscribers, but has already moved close to $200 million and the pace seems to be accelerating. (Read here).
  • The service in Uganda shows very healthy metrics (average transaction value of $21, more than 1600 outlets etc. ) (Read here)
  • The mobile money service in Ghana recently announced connection to nine of the local banks. This means that subscribers of mobile money and clients of these banks can transact with each other electronically. (Read here)
  • The functionality and reach of Mobile Money in Ghana is referred to frequently in the local media (Read here and here).
  • Even in small country Rwanda, MTN is making progress with the roll-out of Mobile Money (Read here)

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