MOBILE MONEY – What can Africell do in the telecom sector beyond provision of competitive data service? Africell Money, the telecom says, and it has sunk its teeth and tail deeper into the electronic wallet service, ringing a string of game-changing services.
Established in 2002 as an African brand servicing several countries in the continent, Africell hopes its Africell Money service will be the game changer on a market that has been dominated by MTN with Airtel closely behind.
With Africell Money, subscribers will be able to “send money to people on other networks and even those without phones.”
“A unique code is generated automatically on sending money. The recipient uses the code to withdraw the money and they don’t need to have a phone,” said Africell Uganda marketing coordinator Mohammad Yahfoufi.
Africell is currently one of the fastest-growing mobile telecommunications operators in Africa and ranks first in the telecommunication sector some countries such as The Gambia and Sierra Leone.
In Uganda, Africell launched its commercial operations in November 2014 after acquisition of Orange Uganda.
However, their operations have mainly been inclined toward data service, offering 2G, 2G and LTE in Kampala with such dedicated service that the network has been ranked the best for quality of service by sector regulator Uganda Communications Commission.
So much has their focus been on data that Africell Money remains largely silent, two years after it was launched.
The start of the new financial year in July, though, had to wake Africell to reality after the implementation of mobile money and social media taxes. While subscribers of MTN and Airtel were able to pay social media tax directly, Africell customers had to rely on other telecom operators for the same.
Africell appears to have smelt the aroma that comes with brewing own coffee rather than watch others sip from their balcony.
They are not only abandoning reliance on interoperability but also bringing with their service provision more ingredients for the subscribers.
For instance, the Africell Money service has been designed to beat the trouble that comes with sending money to the wrong recipients and victims later being taken into a lot to trouble to recover their money through reversal.
This is an issue that has drawn a lot of controversy in the recent past, drawing in Makerere Law don Busingye Kabumba as well as the regulators UCC.
MTN and Airtel have been demanding that subscribers who err in such a manner either negotiate with the unintended recipient for the reversal or seek Police and court order before telecoms act.
— Africell Uganda (@africellUG) July 27, 2018
Following public outcry on social media with dedicated campaigns calling for telecoms to implement speedy reversal, UCC moved in and demanded that telecoms style up. Not to tread the same path, Africell appears to have a solution handy.
“If you have sent money to a person you have never transacted with, they will not be able to confirm the transfer as they don’t know your phone number,” Africell said in their announcement of their electronic wallet service.
“After sending money, you have to call the person to inform them and tell them your number if they don’t know it. They will receive an SMS requesting them to dial *144# and accept the transfer by entering the sender’s number.”
With this method, Africell says if one has sent money to the wrong person, the recipient will not know the number.
“All the amount transferred and the charges will be sent back to you automatically after 5 days if the transfer is not confirmed,” Africell said.
Africell Money also cushions subscribers from mistakenly making the same transaction more than once. The service has been programmed to check if one has performed a similar successful transaction within the hour.
“If that is the case, you will receive a message asking you to confirm if you want to repeat that transaction,” Africell says.