Barring any last-minute change, MTN Nigeria Communications Place will be launching its mobile money service called MoMo.
MoMo is its answer to crack and penetrate the mass market in the Nigerian financial services sector.
In Ghana, West Africa’s second-largest economy, MoMo had already been launched.
The service allows all MTN network users to convert their mobile number to an e-wallet where they can simply send and receive money as well as make payments to any other MoMo user or any other bank account holder.
People with knowledge of the matter said MTN’s MoMo will start with about 15,000 mobile agents nationwide. This in the first place solves the problem of people having access to their cash when they get paid and also make deposits and or send money to anyone across Nigeria either through cash payments or assisted deposit by the agents.
However, the big catch for MTN’s MoMo is not just local transfer and payments. It is remittances. Yes, global money transfer. From what MTN’s mobile money is already offering in markets like Ghana, the mobile network could be making a huge bet to take on the likes of conventional banks alongside international money transfer giants such as WesterUnion and Moneygram. From all indications, the service could be activating its international remittance which allows anyone from any major parts of the world to send money to any MoMo user in Nigeria.
In the last few years, MTN MoMo has signed an agreement with emerging but tech-driven money transfer startups such as WorldRemit, Homesend, Neteller, Skrill, Xendpay, Azimo and many other remittance and online money transfer startups which could give MoMo users ability to receive and transfer money to virtually anywhere in the world with their mobile number.
The entrance of MTN MoMo could be a game-changer bearing in mind its 60 million subscriber base who are the primary customers that the mobile carrier can upsell its mobile money offerings with very low costs or virtually free.
Few months after its listing to the premium board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, MTN, announced that it received its super-agent license to operate a mobile money service across Nigeria.
Few months after its listing, Bharti Airtel Africa executed its dual listing on the NSE and the London Stock Exchange despite not meeting the minimum listing requirements on the Nigerian bourse.
However, Airtel has not announced its plan to launch its mobile money service. Moreover, there are indications that it could pull a shocker by following MTN’s trail in the medium term.