Five Digital Products Propelling MTN Towards Tech

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MTN has been growing alternative sources of revenue outside voice, maintaining an accelerated growth trajectory, with massive adoption of its data, fintech, and digital services.

Its digital platforms provide services that expose and leverage its connectivity and payment capabilities as well as foster an ecosystem to help drive local innovation.

BusinessDay takes a look at five digital products propelling MTN towards being a technology company.

MoMo

MoMo is an acronym for mobile money, which allows registered agents to perform transactions for customers. It also allows cash transfers for people who do not have bank accounts and ATM cards.

This initiative by MTN is to ensure a secure electronic service linked to an MTN mobile phone number that enables the mobile operator’s Mobile Money wallet holders to store funds, send and receive money, make payments and do a number of other transactions simply using their mobile phone.

MoMo is used to send money to any MTN mobile phone user, registered or not, as well as to mobile phone users on other local networks. Also, it is used to withdraw cash at any authorised MTN Mobile Money agent, top-up MTN airtime, pay bills, buy and pay for insurance, payment of employee salaries, airline tickets, school fees, and other goods and services.

In November 2018, MTN MoMo launched in Uganda, and by May 2021, the programme was live across 12 African countries including Nigeria, with over 22 million subscribers in 15 countries.

While MTN currently awaits final approval on a payment service bank (PSB) licence that will enable it to deploy MoMo as a mobile money service in Nigeria, the company in an interview with BusinessDay said it planned to separate the business from its telco business in the country.

Ayoba

Ayoba is a free instant messaging app, built by MTN for Africans. The platform offers users free access to an ecosystem of digital and media services through chat and call features, channels, micro-apps, and payment solutions.

Ayoba is localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs, supporting 22 relevant languages. It has incorporated sophisticated end-to-end encryption to keep its users’ data safe and ensure their privacy.

This means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else, not even the team at Ayoba. MTN’s inclusive approach to technology entails that Ayoba users will be able to communicate with anyone with a mobile device, even if they don’t have the Ayoba app yet.

Founded two years ago, Ayoba has reached a milestone of over 10 million monthly active users, with over 180 content channels ranging from sports news, music and artists, health and wellness, careers, fashion, and beauty, as well as education and travel.

RBM

RBM uses the rich and interactive features of rich communication services (RCS), which is the next generation SMS that allows sharing of audio, video, images, location, among others, to enable branded business messaging.

RCS messages are securely delivered to native messaging apps such as Google and Samsung messages on android phones. Available on 3G and 4G networks, RCS is the default messaging standard for 5G networks.

As of today, RCS is available globally with over 700 million monthly active users. In partnership with Google and Dotgo, MTN would leverage the services provided by Dotgo such as the RCS application programme interface (APIs), including chatbot directory, billing, payments, reconciliation, among others, to drive monetisation from RCS.

Insurance platform

MTN’s insurance platform is a solution that monitors driving behaviour and statistics to enable usage-based insurance.

The solution, developed by MTN Business in conjunction with technology partner Huawei, involves the installation of an on-board diagnostic (OBD) device that can feed information to the driver’s mobile phone and to a data centre for use by the insurance fleet management companies.

It monitors driving statistics, driver behaviour, and the state of the vehicle, enabling insurance companies to offer usage-based policies that are based on collected and analysed data.

According to the company, the service will initially use MTN’s 3G and 2G networks for connectivity but will ultimately use the NB-IoT network that the operator is building out with Huawei.

Music streaming app

MTN has a fully inclusive time-based music streaming service that offers users trending and locally relevant music through partnerships with music labels and providers.

The service, which is an offering from the team at Simfy Africa, is set to revolutionise Africa’s music industry with a fully inclusive music streaming offering that includes a countdown timer, top trending music, and data included in the price.

The service works based on a timer clock that counts down as users listen to music, and there is no subscription needed. Being an app in South Africa, MusicTime is available as either: 120 minutes for R5 or 300 minutes for R10, and both packages are valid for seven days from purchase.

Users can listen to the music with no hidden data costs, advertisements, or other interruptions.
– Business day

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