Petter-Borre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Myanmar, is gunning to launch mobile money in the country in the second half of 2015, while rival Ooredoo has nabbed an executive with a record of deploying such services in Africa.
“We will be ready to commercially launch in second half assuming we get regulatory go ahead,” Furberg (pictured) told a company event in London today.
Telenor has a partnership with Yoma Bank, a leading privately owned bank in Myanmar.
The country is seen as prime territory for mobile money because of the absence of traditional banking infrastructure. The Norwegian operator and its local partner are eager to fill the gap, starting with a basic money transfer service, said Furberg.
Money transfer is often the starting point for a wider portfolio of mobile financial services.
However Telenor-Yoma is still waiting for regulatory clearance which is needed before it can go ahead with planned launch.
Furberg was speaking at the Telenor Group Sustainability Seminar in London
Competition has a new face
Telenor’s plans for a money launch come as rival Ooredoo has appointed a new CEO in Myanmar who has a background of successfully deploying mobile money in Africa.
The current CEO of Ooredoo’s Myanmar operation is to step down and will be replaced by Mr Rene Meza, currently managing director of Vodacom Tanzania.
No date has been given for the departure of Ross Cormack, with a statement noting only that he will leave “later this year” and “there will be a hand over period to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.” But a statement from Vodacom said Meza is leaving his current post in September.
“During his time with Vodacom, he doubled the network to 3,200 sites, increased the number of customers to over 12 million and led Tanzania to have the second biggest MPesa customer base in the Vodacom Group,” said a company statement.
Last week Ooredoo reported a QAR154 million ($42 million) loss in Myanmar, reflecting continued rollout in the operator’s newest market. It claimed 3.3 million customers in the country by the end of March. This figure is only half that achieved by rival Telenor, which also launched services last year and boasts more than 6 million customers.