INTERVIEW: Wave Money CEO Brad Jones (pictured) explained 5G will be a long-term play for the mobile financial sector, tipping the technology to open new services which enhance core mobile money services rather than radically alter their make-up.

The company, a joint venture between Telenor and Yoma Bank operating in Myanmar, isn’t looking at 5G “that closely at this stage in terms of the application of mobile money”. But Jones sees “great opportunities” to add value to its current service, for example by enabling it to offer virtual call centres, which it will explore “when those networks start to be built”.

Wave Money initially offered cash transfer services based on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD, or quick codes) using SMS to deliver notifications. “And then, all of a sudden, the market just moved so quickly to 4G that we realised we had to, really, change our whole approach”.

Today, agents and customers are connected via an app and, while money transfer remains at the heart of the company’s services, it is “moving heavily into ticketing” and serving an “incredible Facebook e-commerce market in Myanmar” involving several thousand transactions each month.

For people in developing markets, Jones said mobile financial services are “the bedrock” in terms of “their financial stability”, providing safe ways to save and move money, or accessing “reasonably priced credit”.

Click here for more about Wave Money’s journey from challenging long-established informal money transfer methods through to moves to provide credit services to agents and consumers.