VIDEO INTERVIEW: Alban Luherne, director of Orange Money, said the operator is on target for €200 million in revenue from mobile money in 2018, an indication of growing expectations among operators about such services.

Orange in present in 15 countries with mobile money, predominately in Africa and the Middle East, although it recently also launched in France.

The operator has “more than 18 million customers”, said Luherne. Actually, in its most recent quarterly figures for Q2 2016, it reported 19 million.

Total transaction value in 2015 was “more than €7.6 billion.”

Looking forward, Luherne said the group is on target to achieve €200 million in revenue in 2018, up from €80 million in 2015. The growth emphasises the promise of mobile money but also its challenge to become really significant for a group whose total revenue last year was €40 billion.

In addition to a direct financial contribution, operators view mobile money as having stickiness for subscribers, so reducing churn.

Such services typically start with P2P money transfer, usually in the form of remittances, before building a wider range of offerings, including disbursing payments, such as salaries, on behalf of governments and companies.

Despite the rosy outlook, money providers do have some concerns, as Luherne concedes. In particular, he points to building a ubiquitous network of agents to sell the money service: “We are building a network but it’s still a challenge to make it available close to the user and make sure we have cash available for when a user wants to cash out. This is still the biggest challenge we face.”

Watch the full video here.