MTN Set To Launch Messenger Service To Rival WhatsApp

At MTN’s recent financial year-end results presentation for 2018, the Group’s CEO, Rob Shuter announced that the giant mobile operator would be launching a new instant messaging service.

Shuter said that the Instant Message service would form part of the business’ mobile money division and aimed to ultimately function as the “WeChat of Africa”, allowing mobile payments for the underbanked and unbanked.

MTN plans to launch the platform, an improved mobile money service and its own music streaming function. Shuter confirmed that the new messenger service would begin launching across all MTN’s operational markets this year, starting with two of its markets in West Africa.

When it comes to competing with applications such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Shuter said that MTN’s Instant Message platform would offer communication channels that are not solely reliant on data.

The CEO said that SMS integration was being built into the messaging app.
This would allow data-enabled 3G customers to converse with non-data subscribers across a seamless messaging space.
Shuter noted that this integration innovation would be a significant difference between existing apps and MTN’s messenger.

MTN’s messaging app is being built by an in-house team and currently supports 54 languages.

Shuter added that another focus is the introduction of MTN Mobile Money in the markets where this service is to be offered.
He said that even though the platform would be messaging-centric with a payment mechanism, it will also offer incentives to subscribers via the bundling of data services and promotions.

Shuter declared that integrating this function within the MTN messaging application would enable users to easily make payments to other Mobile Money customers, while also being able to communicate with other users via the data-reliant and SMS messaging service.

Shuter added that MTN Mobile Money would also expand to South Africa, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Sudan this year.

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