MTN Group has it will apply for a mobile banking licence in Nigeria and plans to launch the service there next year, its CEO said on Tuesday, further embedding the South African telecoms company in its biggest market.
Federal government announced last month that it would allow telecom companies to provide banking services, aiming to give millions of Nigerians without bank accounts access to so-called mobile money services, a policy that has been very successful in Kenya.
MTN runs Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone network serving 56 million people, but it is also involved in a dispute with the authorities after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it illegally transferred $8.1 billion overseas.
Separately, it has been slapped with a $2 billion Nigerian tax bill and whether those issues could influence how quickly MTN secures a licence remains to be seen.
“We will be applying for a payment service banking licence in Nigeria in the next month or so, and if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching Mobile Money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019,” Rob Shuter told a telecoms conference in Cape Town.