With growing competition in mobile banking in the telecoms sector within the country, MTN-Rwanda is looking at venturing into cross-border mobile money transactions, a move expected to beef up its position as a leading telecoms by assets, revenues and subscriber base.
Global telecommunications industry monitor, Pyramid Research, said Monday that MTN- Rwanda will be partnering with MTN-Uganda in harmomising the mobile money platforms to allow its subscribers to send money across the border.
“We are working with MTN-Uganda to harmonise our platforms so that our subscribers can send money to MTN-Uganda subscribers,” Arthur Rutagengwa, Head of Mobile Money at MTN-Rwanda, said.
Mobile money – the use of cell phones for money transfers, payments and more sophisticated financial activities such as credit, savings, and insurance – is increasingly popular in East Africa.
Telecoms experts note that Mobile banking is another milestone in achieving a cash-lite economy, where sending and receiving money through the mobile phone is more flexible, convenient, and faster than using cash.
Experts believe that the shift to cross-border transactions by telecoms will help boost their revenues that have been facing low returns in voice revenues and fragile data that is yet to be conquered by the low cost internet usage.
“As long as we are able to pay each other across the border without the hassle, then business is well facilitated,” said Tadeo Karuhanga, a Ugandan cross-border trader.
Expected to be implemented soon, the MTN’s cross-border mobile money will come as a new tool for the leading giant to shove off the competition from its rival Tigo Rwanda which launched the same product with its sister company in Tanzania.
“We have received a great response from customers, including customers with family ties between the two countries, as well as businessmen doing cross-border trade,” said Tigo’s Daniel Barrientos
“This is the result of deep understanding of consumer needs combined with an innovative portfolio of products including money transfers, payments, airtime reloads, cross-border transfers and bank integration,” he added