Technology

Mobile money platform a key revenue stream for telecoms

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Mr Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister, launches MTN’s data centre and business unit in Mutundwe, a Kampala suburb

Mr Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister, launches MTN’s data centre and business unit in Mutundwe, a Kampala suburb, last week. PHOTO BY JOSEPH KIGUNDDU. 

By Faridah Kulabako

Posted  Monday, November 5  2012 at  02:00

In Summary

The mobile money platform has been a key factor in extending financial inclusion to under served Ugandans.

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Kampala

The convenience and efficiency which comes with the mobile money service platform continues to oil telecom company’s revenue streams, with many players reporting growths in the volume of money transacted.

MTN, which is said to be the biggest mobile money service provider, said last week at the launch of its data and switching centre and MTN Business Unit in Mutundwe that close to Shs600 billion is transferred through its mobile money platform on a monthly basis.

The massive uptake of mobile money service, an electronic platform that enables mobile phones subscribers to send and receive money using their mobile phones, can be explained by the rapid spread of mobile phone penetration, as opposed to commercial banks outreach, creating a fertile ground for mobile money to thrive. It is estimated that Uganda has about 3.5 million bank accounts compared to about 17 million mobile phone subscribers as of June this year.

The number of mobile money transactions since the inception of the platform is estimated at 84.7 million as of 2011, with a total value of Shs3.75 trillion wired through the platform, a figure that dwarfs transactions for some individual bank reserves.
At the end of December last year, mobile commerce users in Uganda stood at 2.8 million, up from 1.8 million the year earlier.

This means that at least 18 per cent of the total mobile phone subscribers are registered users of mobile money services.

Mobile money services is one of the fastest growing revenue stream for telecom companies that is expected to hugely boost their incomes in the near future. Ericsson recently projected that by 2015 or so, some telecom operators would be getting as much as 10 per cent of their total revenue from mobile money services platforms.

MTN chief executive officer Mazen Mroue said the firm intends to invest about $80 million this year in infrastructure to offer quality services across the country as well as supporting the company’s service platforms.

Warid Telecom’s chief commercial officer Mr Shailendra Naidu said the Warid Pesa platform had registered steady growth in terms of transactions and value because of additional payment options such as utilities settlement.

However, Mr Naidu could not reveal how much money is wired through the telecom’s network on a monthly basis. MTN, Airtel, Warid and Uganda Telecom are some of the telecoms which operate mobile money platforms.

fkulabako@ug.nationmedia.com