Telecommunication companies want more role in mobile money

Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi
Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi

The Telcos said the present arrangement is not fait to them.

 

Telecommunication companies, Telcos, say they want less restrictions by the Central Bank of Nigeria on their level of participation in the mobile money industry.

The companies say mobile money operators ride on their back to render their services to the public.

The Director, Tele Banking, Globacom, Tunde Kuponiyi, said mobile money is a telecommunication driven retail network.

“The telco is an infrastructure service provider. Mobile payment relies about 90 per cent on the telecommunication industry.

“We are satisfied with the given regulatory framework, because the mobile money is a value added service. We believe there should be greater involvement of the telecommunication companies in this field,” he said.

Mr. Kuponiyi said though the major business of telecommunication firms is communication, “the Central Bank should see how with the use of financial inclusion, there can be increase in subscription, that is, an increased subscriber communication and enhanced usage of airtime.”

He said Globacom has been able to bring on board about 11 mobile payment licensed agents to give the firm’s customers more platforms to choose from in carrying out their mobile money transactions.

“The Central Bank should allow us advertise, and the airtime issue should also be looked into.

“They say telcos are not supportive. But the fact is that our resources are being used during these transactions, and despite this, some transactions are not even commission based. Who would pay that price?” he asked.

Mr. Kuponiyi urged mobile money operators to think and act the way telcos do, by resolving issues that come up during transactions promptly.

Tread gently

Finance experts have, however, urged that the mobile banking terrain be treaded gently to ensure its success.

Howard Williams, a Professor Emeritus of the University of Strathclyde, said the advent of mobile money has shown that for even those that are banked, there are some services which will be consumed if priced correctly.

He urged the finance and telecoms regulatory agencies involved in the mobile money industry to shift their policy making focus onto consumer welfare and distribution issues.

“The key message is to minimise policy interventions,” he said.
CBN to address concerns

The Central Bank has however, said the challenges telcos face in discharging their mobile money responsibilities would be addressed.

“The challenges would be addressed,” Olu Adaramewa, Deputy Director, banking and payments, Central Bank of Nigeria, said.

He also said that mobile money promotions would begin soon, contrary to opinions that it is of lesser priority to the regulatory agency, when compared to the cash-less Nigeria project.

“We want to be systematic,” he said. “We want to complete the licensing of operators before we start aggressive campaign.”

There are about 100 million telecommunication subscribers, as against about 24 million bank customers. Analysts have said they expect the Central Bank and telecommunication firms to iron out grey areas for the progress and success of the mobile money industry.