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Mobile Money Wallets: Are They a Profitable Business Model for MNOs?

Mobile money wallets provide a safe & secure way to send & receive money, top-up data & airtime, pay subscriptions & bills, shop online & secure loans. Read more!
September 26, 2023

Gone are the days when Telcos were the gatekeepers of all communication services. The rise of apps and social media platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook have effectively made communication free to the general population, who carry these channels around with them on their mobile devices. 

While this has certainly made keeping in contact easier, it’s also resulted in a steady decline in Mobile Network Operators’ revenue across the board. As customer preferences evolve with the times, demand for airtime and voice call services are in decline. 

The good news is that the stagnating demand for traditional mobile services has resulted in a much-needed push in a new direction for MNOs.

Growing access to smartphones and connectivity is causing a boom in demand for integrated, diversified mobile digital services. Customers are looking for instant, easy access to financial, lifestyle and utility services, available to them at the touch of a button. 

This need has created a lucrative opportunity for telcos to fulfil the demand while reducing their churn and developing new sources of revenue - the mobile money wallet. Can MNOs profit from offering mobile money wallets to their customers and how exactly do they benefit?

Is Offering Mobile Money Wallets a Profitable Business Model for MNOs?

Mobile money wallets provide a safe and secure way to send and receive money, top-up data and airtime, pay subscriptions and bills, shop online and secure loans. In the current social and economic climate, this is fast becoming the preferred way for customers to interact and engage with services. 

The COVID-19 pandemic did a thorough job of exposing the current limitations of existing financial service platforms thanks to social distancing and highlighted the urgent need to accelerate broad access to digitised, mobile-based financial services. 

This scramble for access to digital services is evident with the number of registered mobile money accounts jumping to 1.12 billion in 2020, according to the GSMA. 

Telcos are uniquely positioned to tap into the mobile money market through digital wallets. Their existing client base means that they already have an active audience, coupled with significant knowledge and insight of local markets in which they operate, enabling them to roll out technologies and services at a speedier rate compared to traditional fintech companies starting from scratch. 

By leveraging the payment component of mobile money wallets, MNOs can offer a full suite of digital services, including financial, eCommerce, entertainment and utility services, introducing new sources of revenue and increasing ARPU of existing customers, while expanding their visibility to new customers.  

How Can MNOs Build a Business Model Based Around Mobile Wallets?

Using a brick-by-brick approach, MNOs can build up an extensive network of services available to customers through mobile money wallets. Starting with smaller advanced airtime and data lending services to customers will help telcos to build clear financial profiles of customers for risk assessment and scoring.

With the data gleaned from customers’ purchases and online behaviour, the natural next step is to offer larger mobile money loans and handset financing to targeted customers. Customers can then leverage this access to loans and mobile money to purchase further products and services available via their digital wallets. 

By offering these new services, telcos can generate novel sources of revenue through additional data and products purchased by customers and from any affiliate advertising or marketing on the mobile payment platform. 

At the same time, by providing access to mobile credit and loans, MNOs can help drive financial inclusivity across largely unbanked markets, enabling many customers to obtain financial services for the first time. 


Airvantage is one of the largest service providers to MNOs across Africa. We specialise in:

  • Advanced airtime and data lending
  • Mobile wallets and mobile money lending
  • Agent lending and handset finance
  • Financial identity as a service

Our extensive credit access means we take on the risk so you don’t have to, allowing you to focus on transforming and scaling your product and service offerings. 

If you’d like to learn how Airvantage can help you launch mobile money wallet services to your customers, book a consultation with us.

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