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Optimising technology for increased telecoms digital impact on man, economy

by CHUKA UROKO

December 3, 2017 | 3:01 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

Globally, technology is driving growth and development of the telecommunication industry. In Nigeria, it is amazing how telecom companies are optimising technology to bolster development across sectors and spheres of human existence. In this piece, CHUKA UROKO reviews how one of the major companies, 9mobile, is impacting Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape with its digital footprints.

To say that technology is revolutionising the world is, to say the least, emphasising the obvious, because every turn one makes, one sees its impact. Virtually every aspect of existence is affected, but the telecoms industry, which reflects the witch-spirit in man and science, enjoys much of technology.

Clearly, digital technology has changed the world. Communication, commerce, transportation, education entertainment, and virtually all aspects of life have been impacted significantly and the verdict seems to be that one keeps up with the changes or he loses out.

Right in the middle of the technological shift is telecommunications – an industry that has experienced exponential growth in Nigeria in the past decade, providing Nigerians valuable connections to opportunities globally.

With the fierce competition in the telecom industry, Nigeria has myriads of digital services that promise to meet the many needs, and resolve the several challenges that have become apparent in this digital age. The mobile telecommunications network operators are in the lead in creating products and services that enable Nigerians enjoy the best of digital life and accomplish great feats.

Of the big four telecommunications companies in Nigeria, 9mobile stands out in terms of innovation and impact. The telco’s digital services such as Morebackup, Cloud9, 9mobile football Portal, 9mobile game portal, fitness portal, video portal and app store, have set the pace in the industry and created value that was once unperceivable.

One of the areas 9mobile has been exemplary in applying cutting-edge digital technology is mobile financial services. This represents the company’s response to the growing demand for seamless, quicker and easier financial transactions, and its active involvement in the fast rise of the financial technology (Fintech) industry.

True to its nature and vision of empowering Nigerians, 9mobile has taken the lead in innovating, providing platforms for, and facilitating digital financial services that have revolutionised business transactions and simplified access to credit for individuals and small businesses – a fundamental element of economic growth. The company’s digital footprints have been hugely impactful on service areas such as insurance, payments, savings as well as entertainment, education, and communication, both data and voice.

According to Adia Sowho, the company’s Director, Digital Business, 9mobile has invested a lot to empower Nigerians by creating customer-centric products/services that truly address customers’ needs with an array of digital content and multiple mobile transactional mediums, which give subscribers access to m-commerce experience and more.

“With the rich portfolio of digital and mobile financial services such as Cloud9, More status and Kwikcash, 9mobile subscribers are granted access to entertainment, business promotion and instant loans. 9mobile is also able to provide informative and educative services to subscribers through technical and content partnerships, as well as enabling new businesses with various financial options and facilitating the evolution of the digital age in Nigeria,” she said.

Continuing, Sowho cited, “our recently-launched 9pay, a mobile payment solution that enables subscribers pay for an array of media, games, apps and digital content on Google Play store, is also a means of making important financial transactions”.

These transactions, she said, included sending and receiving money, receiving change from merchants, topping up air-time and much more, thereby allowing 9mobile subscribers participate in m-commerce which is critical in light of the global ICT revolution. Sowho added that in 9mobile’s product research and development trajectory, the telco constantly seeks out ways to promote financial inclusion while bridging the digital divide that currently exists in Nigeria.

For financial inclusion, its services, which enable and grant access to online banking transactions, mobile insurance, payment solutions and instant loans, have significantly defined the growing impact of fintech, despite prevailing national regulatory limitations. For instance, Kwikcash, a service that allows customers to take instant loans with a convenient payback right from their mobile devices, which 9mobile offers in partnership with Support Microfinance Bank, is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The instant loan product, which was created to improve financial inclusion, enables 9mobile subscribers to obtain quick loans by simply dialing *561# on their mobile devices. The loan is instantly delivered to the bank account of the customer making the request; with no collateral or documentation needed.

To carryout online banking transactions, such as pay bills, purchase airtime and make bank transfers from a mobile device, 9mobile provides service codes such as MM USSD/Payments, Guaranty Trust Bank *737#, and codes for Wema Bank and Ecobank. For mobile insurance on a daily to monthly subscription basis, the telco offers Sure4life, 9ja4life, and Screen Ins.

For safe, reliable and convenient payment solutions for subscribers, 9mobile offers 9Pay and MCash, which use QR code scan to offset bills. To help subscribers to create account and save money, 9mobile offers GTEasysavers. 9mobile has also introduced Paysolar, a power solution that powers certain appliances over a 24-hour duration based on a subscription model payable on a monthly basis.

Championing the digital revolution into Nigeria’s burgeoning entertainment industry, 9mobile conceived Cloud 9TV in 2015 as a marketing channel for music content (Cloud 9 music) via its experience centres. Within the first couple of months, Cloud 9 music became the most sought-after content platform for upcoming and established artistes who required an alternative marketing content channel, with a guaranteed exposure to over half a million views monthly.

9mobile’s impact continues to grow. As Sowho puts it, “the future is digital and 9mobile is ready for it.” This underlines the passion with which the company has continued to ramp up its technology, technical capabilities and interactions with its customers, all in furtherance of its promise to keep offering best-in-class products and services that harness rapid technological advancements that define this digital age.


by CHUKA UROKO

December 3, 2017 | 3:01 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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