Africa’s Biggest Mobile Operator Wants To Be Its Biggest Bank

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African mobile operator MTN, which is the biggest telecoms company in Africa, is aiming to be the continent’s biggest bank in the near future.

While this may have sounded like a strange relationship in years passed, the rise of mobile money and banking via cellphones has made this objective one that makes a great deal of sense.

MTN CEO Rob Shuter certainly thinks so, which is why he made the declaration recently at the Deloitte Africa in 2018 Outlook conference in Johannesburg, according to MobileWorldLive.

The confidence behind his statement comes from the growth and popularity of the company’s mobile money product, which operates in 14 markets across Africa.

MTN Mobile Money gives anyone with access to a mobile phone the ability to send and receive money quickly, safely, cost-effectively and conveniently.

“The core digital service that we have decided to put our money on is Mobile Money,” said Shuter,¬†according to ITWebAfrica.

“Mobile Money is really about leveraging the strength of the brand and leveraging the strength of the distribution because we have built a huge informal distribution network for prepaid airtime to bring customers into a transactional banking system,” he explained.

With 21 million active users currently using the service, and growth of around half a million users per month, Shuter is confident in the mobile operator’s ability to become Africa’s number one in banking.

“We are a new age transactional banking provider and it’s a very big imperative for us, and the key thing we want to do is to scale it rapidly,” Shuter said.

“We will be the largest bank in Africa, leveraging scale, network, brand, infrastructure and distribution,” he claimed, with the aim being to grow MTN Mobile Money into a business that serves around 60 million users in the next four years, according to NewTelegraph.

In its goal to become Africa’s biggest bank through a mobile money product, MTN will go head to head with its South African rival Vodacom, which is looking to expand its M-Pesa product (through the acquisition of Safaricom) into other African markets.