With a customer base now estimated at 5.4 million people, including 2.8 million for Orange and 2.6 million for its competitor MTN, the mobile Money market in Cameroon is certainly booming, but remains embryonic, compared to countries such as Kenya. Encouraged by the rapid adherence of the population to this service, and by a telephony penetration rate of 75%, the two leaders of the mobile market in Cameroon have been engaged for some time in a battle of positioning in this segment of the Telecoms market.
On December 6, 2016, at a hotel in the capital transformed into a kind of space station, for a ceremony, Orange Cameroon officially launched its Visa Orange Money card. This method of payment, which has been described as “revolutionary” by its promoters, now allows subscribers of the Cameroon branch of the Orange group to withdraw funds from their Orange Money accounts from Visa distributors scattered throughout the country.
In a response from the shepherd to the shepherdess, MTN Cameroon, the competitor, has just launched a money transfer service to 25 countries on the African continent. “No more endless queues and long hours in transportation. With MTN Mobile Money, you can now send money to 25 countries in Africa from your MTN Mobile Money account, “said the Cameroonian subsidiary of the South African telecommunications group MTN International.
In this commercial war around mobile money, the two operators have also embarked on the conquest of partnerships with banking institutions, in order to offer their subscribers to the mobile banking service the possibility of carrying out transactions from bank accounts to Mobile accounts, and vice versa. In 2015, Orange Cameroon entered into a partnership with Ecobank, while MTN and Afriland First Bank launched the Mobile Account Connected (MAC). For the past few weeks, Orange has also connected to this service, becoming the first operator to benefit from two banking networks allowing it to connect its mobile accounts to bank accounts.
In the streets of the country, this competition on mobile money is even harder: MTN and Orange have democratized the marketing of the product. No need to be a privileged partner to sell mobile money. The emblem announcing the availability of the product is now visible until under the umbrellas of the call-box tenants. At the same time, an ever-increasing number of petrol stations in the country are also fueling the mobile money service.
This meshing of the national territory is such that the operator Orange Cameroon now boasts 3600 points of sale across the country. A network that is constantly densifying, and on which has circulated the trifle of 12 billion CFA francs since 2011. Against initial estimates of only 2 billion CFA francs, reveals Stéphane Huret, the central director of BICEC, the partner Orange money service.
Moreover, if they are satisfied with many advantages already offered to them by the mobile money in terms of bill payment, money transfer, online purchase, etc., Cameroonian consumers are not yet even those of West and East Africa. In some countries in these African regions, deposits in mobile accounts are not only remunerated, but also provide loans to the populations.