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How Can MNOs Unlock New Opportunities with Mobile Wallets?

February 15, 2022

The rapid pace of change in the world can be difficult to keep up with. Services evolve and the demand for them grows and ebbs, particularly in today’s tech-driven culture. 

The advancement of A.I, the internet of things (IoT) and wireless connectivity has greatly reduced customer demand for traditional voice call services from Mobile Network Operators. 

MNOs have been feeling this increasing sting to their revenue streams, and the pressure to evolve and adapt their services has become essential to stay relevant. One viable way of doing this is by offering customers mobile wallets. 

According to a study by Juniper Research, the total number of people using mobile wallets is going to increase from 2.3 billion to nearly 4 billion by the year 2024. 

For MNOs, mobile money wallets present an opportunity to evolve and redefine their positioning in the sphere of digital services. Let’s take a closer look at mobile wallets and why they’ve become indispensable to MNOs looking to stay relevant in the 21st century. 

What Are Mobile Wallets?

A mobile wallet is an app that can be installed on a smartphone or is an existing built-in feature of a smartphone. A mobile wallet stores credit card, debit card, coupons, or reward cards information. 

Once the app is installed and the user inputs payment information, the wallet stores this information by linking a personal identification format such as a number or key, QR code or an image of the owner to each card that is stored.

Why Have Mobile Wallets Exploded in Popularity Recently? 

  1. Convenience: Mobile wallets enable transactions to be completed instantly. With a few taps here and a few clicks there, you’re done! The days you spend waiting in long lines or going to an ATM are behind you.
  2. Security: Your physical wallet can be stolen, but your mobile wallet cannot. Even if you lose your phone, your mobile wallet has security settings that ensure only you can access it.
  3. Efficiency: When you use a mobile wallet, you don’t need to re-enter your card number, expiry date, CVV code etc. every time you make a purchase. Once you enter your details, they are stored and with a click, your payment goes through.

How Can MNOs Harness Mobile Wallets Through Fintech?

Fintech has exploded in The 21st century and given rise to digital payment platforms. This has mainly been achieved through the internet and smartphone revolution. Banks are now tailoring their services for customers who generally prefer digital payment methods. 

This is particularly true in Africa where not all bank customers have convenient access to bank services such as ATMs, and would rather opt for a digital option available on their smartphones.

The widespread availability and access to smartphones has led African consumers to embrace mobile wallets. For example, in Kenya smartphone usage, which is now at 60%, will rise to over 80% by 2025. 

This has opened the door for telcos such as Safaricom in Kenya to create fintech-powered ‘super apps’ that can offer services beyond money management, such as restaurant bookings, food delivery and taxi hailing. 

These mobile financial and value-added services are a great fintech ‘gateway’ that can be harnessed not just by Safaricom, but any MNO looking to expand their digital services through mobile wallets.

How Can MNOs Earn Revenue From Mobile Wallets?

Mobile wallets can serve as an entry point for MNOs to gain banking licenses, and enable them to tap into new revenue streams:

  1. Loan origination: Through this method, MNOs collect a commission paid to them by banks for using their loan services. An excellent example is Tala, an online lender in Kenya that uses algorithmic technology to ‘scrape’ data points from customers’ phones for analysing and calculating their risk scores. 
  2. Currency exchange: Mobile wallet solutions for mobile operators can charge an X% fee for currency exchange outside the foreign exchange market hours.

What Are the Benefits of Mobile Wallets for MNOs?

  1. Growth in customer base: Mobile wallet solutions with their convenient, safe and efficient orientation will no doubt attract large numbers of smartphone users looking to reap the benefits. 
  2. Relevance: Mobile wallet solutions meet the needs of younger consumers such as Gen-Z and Millenials, who are the largest proportion of smartphone users. These users want flexibility, innovation and smart, convenient apps.
  3. Creation of new revenue streams: As mentioned earlier, MNOs can earn additional revenue through mobile wallets, which is becoming all the more essential as the demand for traditional voice calls declines.

Conclusion

It’s clear that MNOs need to evolve rapidly in order to stay relevant. Relying solely on voice call and data services is no longer enough, and the competition is rife between network operators. 

By leveraging fintech technology to power mobile wallets and services, MNOs can effectively transform with the times, elevate their services, grow their customer base and maximise their revenue. 

Airvantage is one of the largest service providers to MNOs across the African continent, specialising in mobile money services, data and advanced airtime provision, helping MNOs transform their services and capabilities. 

If you’re ready to find out how Airvantage can help you leverage mobile wallets and services to your customers, contact us.

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