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MOBILE NETWORK OPERATORS

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Opportunity

In 2007, there were less than 10 live mobile money programmes, now there are more than 140 deployments around the globe. Mobile network operators (MNOs) realise that a mobile money service is no longer a competitive advantage, but a necessity.

An MNO can enhance their brand by offering services that combat poverty and contribute to the growth of the economy in developing countries. MNOs are well placed to intermediate in financial tools such as; savings accounts, insurance and loans through the mobile channel to reach a high proportion of the poor. Mobile money services thus support corporate social responsibility objectives.

Moreover, mobile money services open up new revenue streams, increase average revenue per user (ARPU), reduce churn and lower distribution commissions for prepaid airtime. Customers will benefit because they can now save time and costs by transferring money, paying bills and receiving salaries through their mobile phones.

Challenges

Mobile money must not be seen as a new value added service (VAS) which can be managed by a product manager working in isolation. The related issues to address, to successfully build a mobile money ecosystem are quite complex and cover various domains:

  • Regulatory endorsement: work with regulators to create enabling environments and ensure that KYC, AML and CFT rules are used appropriately and effectively, so that the benefits of mobile money services reach the target markets.
  • Partnerships: define, conduct and manage the appropriate engagement model (e.g. outsourcing or joint venture) with the financial sector and other stakeholders to build a sustainable ecosystem.
  • Marketing: identify the need or demand with comparative advantage, the “early adopter”, approach, service portfolio and design to rapidly reach scale.
  • Customer activation and driving usage: suggest ways to improve customer education and marketing to promote mobile money services, as well as strategies to increase customer uptake and usage.
  • Distribution: build, incentivize & manage a network of mobile money agents, to perform registration, cash handling and basic Q&A to provide a good level of service.
  • Operations: invest in training, process design and customer care specifically catered to mobile financial services.
  • Business planning and intelligence: specify the direct and indirect effects on core activities (adoption, ARPU, loyalty and operational efficiency), which are difficult to quantify. Track systematically and ensure the evaluation and follow-up based on performance indicators.
  • Project management to coordinate the tasks, various stakeholders, and put in place the right metrics to monitor performance and improve results.

Track Record

GSMA MMU Evaluation
Orange: Uganda
BeMobile: Botswana
Cable & Wireless: Panama
BICs: Morocco and Belgium
GIZ for Axiata: Bangladesh

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