We’ve all been waiting for a new player on the Mobile Money scene which is not as active as we’d like it to be in Zambia but Zamtel has now made it official that their mobile money platform will roll out before the end of the year.
Zamtel CEO Mubanga Mwanakatwe said the mobile money service will be on the market by the end of the year after the Bank of Zambia approved its licence. The only things left to do are get the hardware in place as well as to integrate the billing system that Zamtel will use for this service.
Well, the two other major mobile network operators, Airtel and MTN, already have mobile money services, but are both still trying to boost its use by subscribers by offering value added services VAS like discounts on calls or free data in return for using the service as a way to attract more users to use mobile money. This additional mobile money platform is now a competitor, as Zamtel has 1.4 million registered subscribers countrywide who they will try to get on board.
May the best man win, here’s how…
We all know all you need for mobile money services is a phone, regardless of what make it is. You will have to create an account with a password only you know. The Zambian population is also largely unbanked but they do have cellphones. Below is a map compiled by Movotek Innovations as recently as July showing areas in Africa that have more mobile money accounts than bank accounts:
So, how can these providers compete?
- The level of integration will always make a service stand out. The less moves you have to make to make a transaction, the better the convenience which is supposed to be the aim of any mCommerce facility. For example, they should be able to be linked with bank accounts, utility services, shopping mall points of sale (POS), and other organisations that clients normally make bills to, so they can pay them from the comfort of their home. M-PESA in Kenya is big because all types of payments can be made with it, from grocery shopping bills, school fees, salaries, and also offers services are also offered like obtaining small loans through connections made with various financial institutions.
- The service should have bulk payment systems that allow even organisations to use the service to make payments such as salaries. This is why M-PESA, the biggest mobile money service in Kenya, grew so popular and now has over 19 million users.
- Simplicity is key. The service should be easy enough for both literate and semi-literate users to handle. Commands should be easy to read and understand.
- Technical difficulties should be monitored at all times to make this service as efficient as possible. Many times users of the existing mobile money platforms are not able to use the system because it is down when they most need it.
- Despite the fact that they are all competing against each other, the sooner mobile operators integrate their services to be able to work with each other, e.g, where a subscriber can send money to another subscriber using the mobile money service of another provider, the more moves will be made, and the more profits will be made if a small fee is charged for the transactions.
Mobile money is meant to be convenient so the provider that gets to work on that will be the greater one as its popularity gains momentum.