We have just been told today by Zamtel Corporate Communications Manager, Kennedy Mambwe, that the mobile operator expects to launch a mobile money service before the end of this year. Like most of you reading this, we have wondered many times why Zamtel does not have a mobile money unit especially seeing that mobile payments is set to grow as an industry where traditional voice and data services will eventually plateau. Their competition, Airtel Zambia and MTN Zambia, already have mobile money service. What’s the issue? Don’t they care?
So we had to ask the question that has been burning on everybody’s mind, “why is it taking this long to launch Zamtel mobile money?” According to Mambwe, “Zamtel does not have a reactionary business model but rather follows their own strategy for growth.” Apparently this is the reason why the company has not “rushed” to launch mobile money before the appointed time. Mambwe further told us that Zamtel’s goal is to offer the most competitive service bouquets (bundles); therefore, it was important to introduce products that would be successful.
This does not exactly make sense from a business perspective because one would assume that customers may migrate to the other providers that have the service. Zamtel disagrees. Mambwe points to the month-on-month positive growth figures consistently recorded for the past 2 years, and says they strongly feel that they are in a good position in the market. But what about being the best? Despite incremental mobile subscriber numbers, wouldn’t it be better to be the number one mobile service provider in Zambia? Right now Zamtel stands at number 3.
How then Zamtel plans on being a globally recognised brand is beyond us. Really it could be anyone’s guess. Why not launch a completely new product which is not being offered by the other telecoms at all, or could it be that they are launching a completely re-imagined mobile money service? For now, it’s not clear yet.
We are definitely keeping an eye on this purported Zamtel mobile money launch to see whether indeed it will be introduced before the end of 2014. I am sure mobile subscribers are anxiously waiting to see how different Zamtel’s service will be from other mobile money services currently being offered.