Collaboration points the way to Nigeria’s quest for a big cut of the limitless opportunities offered by digitalisation. Emma Okonji reviews how 9mobile is impacting Nigeria’s digital ecosystem.
Electronic payment, cashless economy and financial inclusion are among new socio-economic development triggers that can result from digitalisation. Digitalisation itself is being fueled by the growth of information and communication technology (ICT). As digitalisation continues to gain wider global impetus across societies, Nigeria is not left out of the evolving trend.
Across multiple fronts, the federal government through the National Communications Commission (NCC), for example, launched the five-year National Broadband Plan (2013- 2018) to achieve 30 per cent internet penetration by the end of 2018. Thankfully, the target was achieved even a month before the expiration of the set timeline. On another front, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with other key sectors such as banks and telecom firms, is at the forefront of driving the government’s financial inclusion strategy with the objective of ensuring that more Nigerians have access to financial services.
Nigeria’s innovative and customer-focused telecommunications company, 9mobile, is among the leading service providers that have imprinted their feet in the digital ecosystem. In demonstration of its commitment to continuously leverage technology to deliver more value-adding services to customers, 9mobile has been investing in technology and development of innovative products, services and solutions for customers in its over 10 years of operation in the country. Although it is acknowledged as the telco with the best quality of service in voice and data, 9mobile is always seeking ways to empower its customers so they can do more.
With 174 million active mobile telephone users and 113.8 million active internet users, according to January 2019 industry data from the NCC, Nigeria has been globally acknowledged as a strategic market with massive potential. In line with the projection, 9mobile has expanded the frontiers of value-added services from voice, data and SMS to enabling businesses with a bouquet of digitalised products, services and solutions. It has also gone a notch higher with the launch of digital-based utility services through partnerships with service providers in key sectors including retail, healthcare, media, entertainment, transportation, banking and insurance amongst others.
Amongst the mobile financial services helping to drive financial inclusion and access is Kwikmoney, an instant loan service on the 9mobile network. By just dialing *561#, a customer gets an immediate loan of up to N500,000 direct to his/her bank account without collateral or documentation. The availability of instant money for individuals and SMEs for business operations, emergencies and other needs has facilitated effective cashflow management and access.
Moresavers, a no-frills account launched in partnership with Wema Bank and GTBank respectively, is another innovative platform targeted at ensuring financial inclusion for more customers by enabling them to open bank accounts with ease, directly from their mobile devices. Also, 9mobile’s ‘9pos’, launched in 2016 offers retail businesses a secure mobile technology that upgrades a mobile phone into a cash management tool and POS machine.
There’s also the popular payment platform, 9pay in partnership with UBA. The electronic funds issuing solution enables seamless payments for applications on the Google play store with customers being able to purchase apps from the play store using 9pay. The platform currently has over 200,000 active subscribers. 9pay has also introduced a mobile app to give customers a more personalized payment experience.
Another innovative product, ‘Borrow Me Power’, allows customers to borrow electric power units and pay back later by just dialing a USSD; *946#. This service is the first-of-its-kind in Nigeria.
Apart from the mobile financial services, 9mobile also has a number of innovative digital products, services and solutions such as DCB, SuperTV IPTV and Cloud 9that millions of Nigerians have benefitted from. Indeed, Cloud 9 has contributed its quota to the entertainment industry by helping artistes monetise their content and generate substantial revenue. It has created a level playing ground for upcoming artists to get the needed attention for growth and revenue generation as against traditional top stars getting all the visibility.
SuperTV, on the other hand, grants subscribers full access to a selection of premium video content on their mobile devices. It offers IPTV with a range of services that include live television, time shift television and Video-On-Demand.
9mobile subscribers can also watch TV with no internet data and have delightful experiences comparable to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Another innovative digital product is the Rich Communication Service (RCS) in partnership with Google. The RCS is a messaging app which enables Android users to send rich messages in the form of images, videos, stickers etc. to other Android users. RCS can also be used for advertising, customer engagement and service activation by brands.
Assessing the telco’s innovative and empowering offerings, an SME owner, Edward Inyang, who is also a 9mobile customer, commended the telecommunications company for its unique digital services, noting that, it’s not only empowering individuals but also driving financial inclusion.
He said: “I can confirm the authenticity of 9mobile’s digital and financial services, especially Kwikmoney. I had doubts initially, but when I needed money urgently to keep my business afloat a while back, I just tried it with no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to access the instant loan to save my business. I hope more telcos will follow 9mobile’s footsteps in empowering Nigerians and boosting financial inclusion.”
9mobile, for over a decade, has been consistently committed to driving digital and mobile financial services for the comfort of subscribers while also facilitating the evolution of the digital age in Nigeria. With the telecoms company not resting on its oars, more innovative offerings are sure to be on the way.