MTN is set to bring back its mobile money service to SA three years after it shut down the platform because of “lack of commercial viability”.
MTN is pushing hard into mobile money services. Few can dispute the commercial logic behind CEO Rob Shuter’s determination to transform the mobile phone company founded with the help of the government in 1994 into an interconnected, mutually dependent, multipurpose digital platform offering everything from money transfer to insurance, music streaming, mobile gaming and chat messaging.
Econet Wireless has been a big success in Zimbabwe and Vodacom’s M-Pesa platform continues to be successful in other markets such as Kenya and Tanzania, though the company appears to have no intention of relaunching it in South Africa any time soon, while MTN has also enjoyed success with Mobile Money in several markets across Africa like in Nigeria.
MTN has a much larger pool of potential new customers. It has 240-million subscribers, most of them in more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a region where over three-quarters of the population do not have bank accounts.
The company said it will continue to work towards obtaining a payment service banking licence in Nigeria and plans to roll out MTN Homeland, a service allowing money to be sent to MoMo recipients in Africa from Europe.