Ooredoo Announces Support for Global Mobile Money Initiative
Published on: 5th May 2014
Qatar based Ooredoo has joined a mobile money interoperability programme being sponsored by the GSMA to allow funds to be transferred between accounts on different networks.
Ooredoo joins a group of operators in supporting the programme, who together represent 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in Africa and the Middle East. These include Bharti Airtel, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Orange, STC, Vodafone and Zain .
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said: "we recognise the important social, economic and community benefits that these services provide. We are pleased and proud to support this initiative, which is fully aligned with our commitment to develop life-enriching services that support human growth."
Ooredoo passed the million customer milestone for mobile money services back in 2013, and has seen consistent growth across its footprint since then. By providing a low-cost alternative for customers who do not have bank accounts or easy access to financial services, the company is enhancing economic inclusion for the under-banked.
In Tunisia, Ooredoo and Tunisian Mail (La Poste Tunisienne) currently have more than 250,000 customers for their mobiflouss service, which works with a wide range of banks to enable customers to transfer money, check bills, and pay for bills and goods. Students have also been using mobiflouss to directly receive government scholarships in their mobile wallets, which is the region's first deployment of a government-to-person mobile service.
In Qatar, Ooredoo, QNB and MoneyGram have seen on-going growth for the Ooredoo Mobile Money service, which enables customers to send money for collection at 321,000 MoneyGram agents in 195 countries around the world. Ooredoo recently enabled customers in Qatar to send money directly from their mobile phones to bank accounts in the Philippines, one of the most popular destinations for the service. Ooredoo Mobile Money is now the preferred money transfer service for the expatriate worker population in Qatar.
With the support of Ooredoo, Indonesia has become the first country in the region to enable people to transfer and receive money seamlessly with customers of any of the top three operators - Indosat, XI and Telkomcel. Indosat, a member of Ooredoo Group, is also in the process of expanding the programme with QNB Kesawan to offer debit cards linked to its Dompetku service, so customers without bank accounts can withdraw money from ATMs.
The company is aiming to use its experience to launch mobile money services in its newest market of Myanmar.
Mobile Money Market Landscape
It is estimated that 2.5 billion people in lower to middle income countries lack access to financial services and cannot adequately invest in their livelihoods, protect their assets nor mitigate shocks that cause them to fall deeper into poverty.
However, it is estimated that 1.7 billion of these people have a mobile phone, providing existing infrastructure that can be used to sustainably offer financial services such as payments, transfers, insurance, savings, credit and cross-border remittances. GSMA research has shown that the number of active mobile money users continues to grow rapidly, with more than 61 million accounts active as of 2013.
In some of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, although there are a number of regulatory challenges that have slowed down the growth of mobile money, it is now gaining popularity in the region. At the end of 2013, deployments in MENA represented six per cent of the live mobile money services globally and 13 per cent of total planned services, indicating that the region will become increasingly important for the industry globally.
The GSMA's MMI programme also includes mobile network operators from other regions and focuses on helping them to successfully launch and scale interoperable mobile money services.