Some thoughts on the hierarchy of agents - Mobile World Live

Some thoughts on the hierarchy of agents

20 NOV 2009

Mobile Operators utilise agent hierarchies for the distribution of pre-paid airtime. By implementing a multi-layer of agents Operators can reach a much bigger market. For instance with just ten super-agents anOperator can have thousands of agents in the field.This approach does have one major drawback: in order tomake deep hierarchies work the Operator must sacrifice big margins. This means that this approach is an expensive distribution mechanism.It seems that it is obvious that Operators should utilise the same approach when implementing mobile money systems. However there are three reasons why this should be re-evaluated:The available margin in mobile money systems are significantly smaller than airtime. It is usually not possible to offer the same level of margins to support multi-layers of agents.Indications are that Mobile Operators should be more involved with support, training and controls for mobile money agents. Deep hierarchies implies that the Operator does not have the same access to the agents that they would need to support these agents effectively. Good mobile money systems are based on sophisticated banking systems (as apposed to over-extending airtime systems). This means that commissions can now be controlled in much more focused ways.It does seem that mobile money system should have flatter hierarchies. In the long run this may even lead to an approach where airtime can be distributed cheaper. Posted from my iPhone

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