Airtel Africa Plc announced earlier today that it had gone into partnership with Western Union to provide a reliable mobile money service for its customers.
In a statement that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the telecoms company informed its stakeholders that this strategic partnership would facilitate the easy movement of money across the world.
How this works: Western Union is a global leader in cross-border money transfers. Airtel Africa, on the other hand, is a leading telecom carrier with presence in over ten countries including Nigeria. Thanks to this partnership, Airtel customers anywhere in the world can reliably send and receive money on their phones using the Airtel Africa Mobile Money Wallet.
The Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mangava, commented on the development, expressing the company’s excitement over the partnership.
“We are very excited to partner with Western Union to enable Airtel Money customers to access a world-leading money transfer organisation. International remittances into Africa are a lifeline to some of our customers. This partnership gives our customers the convenience of directly receiving and sending remittances on their Airtel Mobile Money Wallets.
“They will now be automatically credited and debited via their Airtel Mobile Money Wallets on their phone and can immediately access the funds to pay bills or merchants or transfer funds to family and friends or convert to cash from the widespread Airtel Money agents, kiosks, and branches.“
[READ MORE: Airtel Africa to raise $37.5 million in Malawi)
A possible game-changer: Until now, Nigerians wishing to receive money through Western Union mostly had the option of receiving said money through their domiciliary bank accounts. But this could change soon because of this partnership. Airtel customers may now choose to bypass their banks by receiving money directly through their phones.
This is much similar to what Airtel’s competitor – MTN Nigeria Communications Plc – did last year when it disrupted the financial market space with the launch of a mobile money service called MOMO.
In recent times, telecoms service providers in Nigeria have been aggressive in their expansion, leveraging technology and their customer base to provide banking and even TV services. As expected, this has created competition for original players in these fields. GTBank’s Chief Executive, Segun Agbaje, recently spoke about the changing competitive market landscape that was enabled by technology.