LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA, KIGALI: Alban Luherne, Orange Money MEA director (pictured, centre) believes the operator’s entire African business faces peril if it does not launch wider financial services.
Mobile money has evolved from a “nice to have, to a must have,” he said, warning the company must continue to develop services on top of its existing money proposition, moving from a “cash-in, cash-out” service to include related services including credit and interoperability. If it fails to do so, financial technology companies will, he added.
Orange Money – first launched ten years ago – was still not turning a profit by 2012, with Orange that year investing twice the level of revenue made from the service. Now, Luherne explained, the sector has evolved from being an additional service to funding other areas of the business.
Luherne said: “If we don’t bring any [new] financial services we consider that the whole business is in danger.” He went on to note low additional capital expenditure needed to sustain a mature mobile money service allowed the cashflow generated by Orange Money to finance the rollout of 3G and 4G networks in Africa.
However, he added, to continue to make money from financial services the company would also have to invest in technologies such as credit scoring and set aside funds for compliance being introduced by central banks.