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Facts and fiction: mobile money innovation

Issue: Telecom companies continue to send to my inbox bulk emails of my bills for my data use. It’s inconveniencing and absurd. Some of their emails get blocked by my overzealous firewall, which deletes or junks them. The result is a disconnection of a bill I did not even see!

Fact: Telecoms are in the mobile business. And with the growth of mobile money, a lot of investment must be put there to create mobile money as a platform to enable innovation and integration. The ultimate prize is for the telecom that makes it convenience for users. Case in point: My phone was disconnected on 31st April, only reconnected on 4th May. I have used over US$1,000 in data in the past 1-2 months alone, but was disconnected for just US $3 arising from a CUG, which I had applied to discontinue way back in Nov’15 but teleco did not! Had I received an m-bill for that, I would have gladly paid.

Key innovations telecoms could make a fortune are:

  1. Enabling m-bills for companies to pay directly via their mobile. With MTN’s MyMTN app and other apps where you can transfer funds to and fro bank, it makes this a game changer. For companies that need invoices, just enable them to log-into their m-account online and print invoices from their account. Transfer costs to them.
  2. Enable international receipt of payments (NOT trasfer) via mobile. With paypal’s failure to enable this, many people especially SMEs need it. Uganda passed anti-money laundering law, and our telecos should invest in this right away.

Fiction: Telecoms still think that protectionism will help them. Times have changed. You have to be awfully innovative to get to the top and stay there. And making mobile money as convenient as possible is a winner.

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