Central bank endorses Tigo’s Mobile Money service

Tigo Rwanda, the country’s second largest telecom operator by market share, will unveil Mobile Money service before the end of this year, a top official announced. Tigo, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular, will be the second operator in the country to launch the most booming service in the telecom sector in the region, after MTN Rwanda.
Mobile Money services are expected to increase financial inclusion (File Photo)
Mobile Money services are expected to increase financial inclusion (File Photo)

Tigo Rwanda, the country’s second largest telecom operator by market share, will unveil Mobile Money service before the end of this year, a top official announced.

Tigo, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular, will be the second operator in the country to launch the most booming service in the telecom sector in the region, after MTN Rwanda.

“We are in the advanced stages of receiving our license and by the end of this year we should have our Mobile Financial Services available to our clients,” Tigo’s Product Manager, Tongai Maramba confirmed.

The central bank’s Director of Payment System Department, John Bosco Sebabi, confirmed the development and said that Tigo’s application was approved.

“When we receive applications from operators, we study them and contact the regulator to see if the them is in good book before authorising them with a licence to operate,” Sebabi explained.

Rwandatel, a subsidiary of Libya’s LAP Green was the second telecom, after MTN, to ask for the licence. Its request is yet to be approved.

Sebabi said there was no delay by the central bank in approving the two operators to launch the service.
 
“We are working with RURA to have a report indicating that Rwandatel is in good books and if we get a go ahead from them, then the operator’s application will be approved,” he explained.

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) is the principal regulator of the country’s telecommunication business.

Early this week, Rwandatel’s Chief Commercial Officer, Florentin Gbeu, was quoted in the media saying that the company has invested over Rwf500m in its transfer service, which it had planned to unveil in 2009.

If launched, Rwandatel’s service will be dubbed ‘M-Kash’.

RURA Acting Director General, Regis Gatarayiha, told Business Times, that as far as RURA is concerned, they just approve the technology.
 
“Anything regarding financial transactions by telecom operator, is approved by the central bank. We are asked to approve the technology and then operators are given a go ahead to launch the service,” Gatarayiha said.
 
MTN Rwanda says its Mobile Money transactions have exceeded US$22m about (Rwf13 billion) since February 2010 and is targeting 300,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

Tigo’s Maramba further said that they believe in pushing the envelope of innovation.
 
 “We believe in innovation, and have therefore invested in one of the most advanced systems in the world. We already have similar services that  are currently operational with Tigo Ghana and Tigo Tanzania, and in three other markets in Latin America,” Maramba explained.

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