Uganda: MTN Unveils Mobile Money Transfer Service

Digital Content

How much will it cost you to send UShs1 million (US$512) from Kampala to Arua in northern Uganda? Only UShs1, 500 ($0.76) on the new MTN money transfer service, unveiled last week. And it will get there in minutes with a touch of a button.

That way, it's cheaper, faster and more convenient than what has been available: the buses or other local courier or transfer services. "I think the faster money can move and be exchanged for goods and services, the better the economy will run and this is the logic of this particular service," Isaac Nsereko, the chief marketing officer MTN Uganda said in an interview. Mobile money means that today, as soon as a plumber fixes a problem at your house, they don't have to come to your work place to wait for you to pay them. You can pay them off your phone; they will go buy food at the market or supermarket so goods and services will move more quickly.

"That really is the business velocity the service will create because the faster money changes hands, the faster the economy moves," Nsereko said. The launch of the service according to Noel Meier, the MTN Uganda chief executive officer is a culmination of a comprehensive, rigorous planning and development process. The test process, which has been on since October 16, 2008 included extensive customer research, market planning, vendor selection, software development and careful hardware implementation.

Meier said MTN had carried out all the necessary market tests required to ensure a reliable and secure service to MTN customers. "We know the market has eagerly waited for the mobile money service and we are proud to be the first to bring it to Uganda," Meier said at a press launch of the service last week. MTN mobile money is the first such service in Uganda. It is expected to revolutionalize money transfers and payments especially in rural areas where formal money services hardly penetrate and are deemed to be out of reach of especially the un-banked.

East African Business Week