Mobile operator MTN launched its own instant messaging app – Ayoba – a year ago, and has already attracted two million users.
Ayoba is a communications app localised for African and Middle East consumer needs, under an independent Over the Top (OTT) brand with tailored features for MTN customers.
The app has been integrated into 12 MTN markets including South Africa, and supports many local languages spoken across these markets including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French and English.
Speaking at the group’s annual results presentation on Wednesday (11 March), outgoing MTN group president and chief executive officer, Rob Shuter said that the group aims to have 16 million users before the end of the year. He said that through the app, MTN wants to create an ecosystem for users, “a super-app for Africa”.
He said that the next step for the app would be the introduction of money transfers, with users being able to make and receive payments via Mobile Money.
This is part of a plan to grow and strengthen the group’s digital offerings with part of the business reflecting a disappointing blip on earnings over the past year.
For the year ended December 2019, MTN noted that digital revenue declined by 39.6%. “We remain focused on accelerating digital adoption in our markets through our own platforms and via partnerships,” it said.
Fintech revenue however, increased by 27%, enabled by growth of 7.5 million active Mobile Money (MoMo) users to a total of 35 million, generating a monthly ARPU of $1.15.
The value of MoMo transactions in the year was US$96,1 billion, with 9,200 transactions processed per minute (up from 6,800 per minute in 2018). MoMo is now in 16 markets following the launch of the service in South Africa and Afghanistan in 2019.
“We are focused on building our base of merchants utilising MoMoPay, which is live in 10 markets with 200,000 active merchants,” said Shuter.