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MTN’s MoMo International Airtime enables cross-border transactions

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Felix Kamenga, MTN SA chief officer for mobile financial services.
Felix Kamenga, MTN SA chief officer for mobile financial services.

Pan African telecoms group MTN has launched Mobile Money (MoMo) International Airtime, which allows users to purchase airtime for recipients in other countries.

The move is expected to serve foreign nationals living in SA and South Africans with friends and family living overseas.

Registered MoMo users will be able to access the service on the MoMo app or via the MoMo USSD by dialling *151#.

“Connecting people has always been our primary goal, and we will work tirelessly to ensure we bring people closer through the power of technology. Within this latest development, we are proud to be able to facilitate cross-border transactions,” says Felix Kamenga, chief officer of MTN SA’s mobile financial services.

Explaining how the service works, the mobile operator says, when customers buy airtime on MoMo, there is now a third option called Global Airtime, which gives them an option to select a country where the recipient resides; it will show the customer all the multiple operators available in each of those countries and they can then select the correct network operator.

Users will be charged for the airtime in South African Rands, from their MoMo wallet and it will reflect in the relevant local currency in that specified country.

The countries which this service is available include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ghana.

MTN MoMo customers will receive a quote by providing the required information, which includes the country, mobile operator, recipient MSISDN and airtime value.

The launch of international airtime purchases comes at a time MTN has seen significant growth on its MoMo services in recent months.

The mobile carrier reached a significant milestone in its goal to enable greater financial inclusion by surpassing the 40 million MoMo subscribers mark in the third quarter (Q3), an addition of 3.5 million in the quarter.

In Nigeria, MTN added over 90 000 agents to end Q3 at 311 770 registered agents for its fintech business.

In SA, MoMo is closing in on a total of just over two million users since its relaunch in February.

Kamenga told ITWeb in a recent interview that MTN has identified fintech as a key growth pillar and, as such, is committed to funding MoMo over the next few years.

“The investment in both capex and opex is several hundred million rands. Beyond just the finances, mobile money operations by their very nature with their focus on the unbanked and informal network require significant manpower.

“The investment in people has resulted in over 700 new jobs being created, predominantly for the youth, with more expected after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our target for 2020 was to achieve one million users and we surpassed the number within six months. Our current focus is to ensure we retain our existing customers and recruit more customers by introducing more innovative features into MoMo,” said Kamenga.

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