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MTN shelves mobile money

MTN South Africa’s decision to decommission its Mobile Money offering due to lack of commercial viability does not represent an exit from financial services and the operator is considering options that will very likely include partnerships going forward.

Despite its Mobile Money platform gaining traction since its launch in 2012, and attracting over 2 million registered customers, operating costs have become prohibitive, the company explained in a statement.

“The operating costs of providing a mobile money platform has become prohibitive. The decision by MTN SA to shelve its mobile money service does not signify a complete exit from financial services.

“MTN is still committed to remaining a significant player in the financial services space and we are exploring opportunities in financial services space and other adjacent sectors,” says Larry Annetts, Chief Consumer Officer: MTN South Africa.

Earlier this month ITWeb reported that the operator had decided not to extend the Mobile Money service to new customers.

At the time Annetts confirmed that the service had not been shut down and there were 140 000 customers on board.

While the company wants to refrain from mentioning any specific future and potential market allies at this point, Anna Tzimas, Senior Manager, Mobile Financial Services at MTN SA, reiterated the company’s current position.

Tzimas said the company is following regulations governing customer accounts, in terms of consultation with customers.

“We need to remember that mobile money is just one of our products … we have a range of financial services that we have brought to the market. What we are aiming to do is to make it more efficient

…. This is not an exit from the financial services space. It is getting shelved with the intent of doing it better in future. Our financial services in South Africa have evolved and we can explore options.”

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