Ericsson said some 275,000 MTN Swaziland mobile wallet customers and 3,000 agents are set to benefit from a deal to provide a mobile financial services platform in the African market.
MTN is perparing to deploy Ericsson's Converged Wallet platform, which the infrastructure company said will act as a hub to allow the African operator to connect mobile financial services in several countries, enable the fast rollout of new services, and provide cross-promotion capabilities that could improve adoption rates.
Ericsson said the hub would also improve the time to market for the launch of new cross-border products and services, and offer MTN operational efficiencies.
Peter Heuman, VP and head of M-Commerce at Ericsson, said the collaboration would enable MTN "to bring mobile financial services to millions of people."
The Ericsson platform replaces MTN Swaziland's existing mobile wallet platform and will be integrated with the operator's billing system. Ericsson said the Converged Wallet platform extends existing agreements with MTN Group to deploy mobile wallet services throughout its footprint of 22 African countries, while also complying with new mobile financial services regulations stipulated by the Bank of Swaziland.
Ambrose Dlamini, CEO of MTN Swaziland, explained that the operator's relationship with Ericsson has already spawned MTN Mobile Money, a service he said bridges "the gap between the region's banked and unbanked populations".
Those terms refer to customers who have access to regular bank accounts and credit or debit cards (banked) and those who do not (unbanked).
Dlamini added that MTN's deployment of Ericsson's platform has "enhanced the stability and security of our mobile financial services offering," and provided the operator with the "ability to deliver better mobile financial services offers and bundles as part of our pre-paid services.
The move also means MTN is keeping pace with rivals including Vodafone and Orange, which both launched cross-border mobile financial services in Africa in the first half of 2015.
MTN in April also announced a partnership with Vodafone enabling its Mobile Money customers in East Africa to transfer money to subscribers using Vodafone's M-Pesa mobile financial service.
- see this Ericsson announcement
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