MTN and Orange, two of the largest African telecom operators, have announced continued strong growth in subscribers to mobile money services in the territory.
Orange revealed impressive growth, increasing the number of mobile money subscribers by 1.2 million, giving it a total of 12 million users. MTN however, now boasts more than 22.2 million mobile money subscribers. That's a growth of some two million in just the last quarter.
The company attributed a change in sales strategy for its increased growth in numbers, sales and mobile money subscribers in Arfican territories. MTN is somewhat abandoning 'above-the-line' advertising (such as tv and radio) as Larry Annetts, Chief Marketing Officer told Reuters:
"It's a sin how much we've been spending on above-the-line advertising if you measure the kind of response that we are getting."
Instead, MTN are focusing on tailor-made promotions. Four out of five of MTN's 26.7 million South African users are on pre-paid accounts. Users often contact MTN to inquire about their remaining balance. Now in the company's text to its customers, they will include custom top-up bundle promotions that don't appear on the shelf. The promotions take into account how much money the customer have in their mobile wallet.
So African countries are continuing to lead the way in the adoption of mobile money. It's interesting that, in a situation where customers and business are not as entrenched in the infrastructure and behavior of older forms of banking and payments: mobile money has really taken off. If you were given the chance to design a system for managing money and payments from scratch in the UK: With today's technology, why would you not centre it around mobile money and mobile payments?
By Matthew Taylor 22nd October 2014
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