Mobile Money customers of telecommunications giant MTN could soon earn interest on monies left in their wallets should discussions with partner banks proved successful, Mr. Ebenezer Asante, CEO MTN Ghana has announced.
Speaking at the company’s annual media forum to interact with editors and stakeholders, Mr. Asante said discussions were already underway with partner banks to set the modalities on how much interest to be paid and the criteria for qualification to earn an interest.
There are currently about six million MTN mobile money users, necessitating the creation of a subsidiary to handle the increasing demand on the service.
He said the mobile money business was being regulated by the Central Bank to ensure that it is operated within the framework to safeguard customers’ interest.
ISO 27001 Certification
Mr. Asante said MTN had acquired ISO 27001 certification for its mobile money transaction platform, the only company to achieve that feat in Ghana, to give confidence to the service subscribers.
The mobile money service in 2015 contributed six per cent of the company’s total revenue of GHS 2.23 billion.
He said the company was very optimistic of increasing the number of its MTN mobile money merchants from the current 35,000 to cover more potential customers.
On the company’s investment plan for this year, Mr. Asante said MTN had earmarked $ 96 for investment to enhance its network, improved information technology and the deployment of the 4G LTE in the Ghanaian economy.
Giving a breakdown of the investment figure, he said $ 62 million had been allocated for infrastructure development, $16 for Information Technology and $18 million for the rollout of the newly acquired LTE.
MTN Ghana last year won one of the 2x10MHz spectra blocks in the 800MHz spectrum suitable for 4G service.
Mr. Asante said the company was ready to roll out 4G mobile technology to provide faster and more reliable voice and data services.
Currently, he said the company has 27 operational sites Greater Accra, 23, Kumasi, eight Sekondi/Takoradi, nine (Tarkwa & Obuasi), nine in Koforidua and one at Ashesi University.
He said the company was very optimistic of rolling out the 4G service in the middle of the year.
“We are on time to meet the six months commercial rollout deadline we promised — and even ahead of the nationwide commercial launch the service will be available in parts of the country,” he said.
On MTN financial performance for 2015, Mr Asante said the results were by far very good with all segments of the business contributing to the growth.
He said the company was able to diversify its revenue stream from voice and data with enterprise and mobile money making susbstantial contribution to revenue growth.
Mr. Asante said through MTN’s open market partnership being implemented with most handset dealers which allows subscribers who purchase handsets to be immediately hooked to data subscription, had helped moved the data growth upwards.
He said the company expects robust growth in 2016 but warned that the growth was likely to taper off going into 2017.
Mr. Asante said consolidation would be a key driver of the telecommunication industry in the future, saying that a market of about 30 million was too small for six major players.
“We see a lot of partnership in the future,” he said, adding the LTE would not be different.
He said MTN would also focus on improving communication in the rural areas in the next few years in partnership with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications.
On the issue of SIMBoxing he said the activity was expanding and the fraudsters were finding more inventive ways to continue the flow of bypass international termination.
To find solution to the problem he recommended the amendment of the law to remove the 19 cent surcharge which creates arbitrage and encourages SIMBoxing.
While amendment of the law is pending he said efforts must be stepped up in locating, dismantling and prosecuting fraudsters that were engaged in SIMBox fraud.
“This exercise should be increased in frequency and should cover the whole country to discourage and disrupt SIMBOX operations,” he said.
By David Adadevoh