1. Airtel Money
Airtel owns about 13% of the mobile phone subscriber base as at April 2012. Their Airtel Money service allows you to send money over their network to another Airtel Money account. They already provide the ability for users to top up their call credit and pay for utility bills.
Just recently, they launched two major projects which is likely to grow the use of the payment platform. They are UT fonbank and the Airtel Money Market
UT fonbank allows subscribers of Airtel Ghana to open traditional bank accounts at UT bank with all the features that comes with it like saving and earning interest on money without physically visiting the bank, all of this happens via the mobile device using the Airtel Money platform.
Airtel Money Market is a platform that allows airtel money wallet holders to shop for various products. It can be accessed from any internet enabled device including mobile devices which is cool. Users can browse by store or product items. The platform is powered by Rancard’s Mobility Rendezvous.
2. MTN Money
MTN Money has been around in Ghana since 2009 and in some other countries. With their current subscriber base of more than 10 million users, they can help increase the adaption of a cashless system.
MTN in Ghana has a reputation with local developers who want to develop VAS and other platforms on their infrastructure, some find it difficult. Others with good reputation have little issues. Like most institutions, it not the CEOs doing but those who work for them.
MTN Money launched with 9 banks (CAL Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, GTBank, Intercontinental Bank, Merchant Bank, UBA, Stanbic and Zenith Bank) in 2009 and rolled out to others since then.
Opening an account on the platform is supposed to be simple, walk into any MTN service center and talk to them about opening an account. You can send money to both subscribers and non MTN subscribers as well as top up call credit for now. I was hoping MTN Play, their download portal for music, caller ringtunez and others will use the service too but the site is not explicit about that.
Been around probably longer than most of the others but launched last year by DreamOval in 2011 after being in development for some years now. i-Wallet hopes to increase local merchants and their products’ presence on the internet.
i-Wallet supports Airtel Money (another plus for Airtel Money) so topping up i-Wallet account is pretty cool for those on that platform. You can also purchase mytxtbuddy credit with i-wallet.
4. Ozinbo Pay
New kid on the block, with good documentation on their API. Yes they have API for the community to consume and expand on.
Ozinbo Pay is brought to you by the people from nFortics. nFortics managed by Sam Paapa Opoku provides branchless banking services to financial institutions in SSA.
They are currently hiring for tight ruby developers to complete pending integration work across africa so if interested send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alswell is the latest search assistant from nCodedev Labs for GetFeatured.biz a classified which was released in 2011. It allows you to search for Jobs, Accommodations, Autos, Businesses, Deals and more directly from any of the available listings on GetFeatured.biz without opening the browser. It also comes with a MapMode feature which allows viewers to see listings on a Google map.
Alswell is currently in Beta but can allow you to setup Alerts to be delivered via IM. SMS and Email alert setup will be added in the very near future, probably before it is fully launched.
It is very easy to have Allswell send you a friend request, just visit Alswell’s registration page and click on the Register New Account tab. Enter your email address and Alswell will send you a friend request on gtalk within seconds, accept it and start searching GetFeatured’s awesome directory.
To search for Jobs for instance, you have to use the following syntax without the quotes: “FIND JOBS, JOB TITLE HERE, LOCATION <OPTIONAL>”
Alswell wants to find and fix all her bugs so go ahead and send her a friend request on gtalk for an interesting classified search experience. Please make sure to hit the feedback button on GetFeatured.biz to send issues on Alswell.
One main challenge facing some of Africa’s mobile developers is how to make money from their solutions. Mobile Apps and solutions are quite new here (because smart phones until recently were not easy to come by) and there is no clear way of making monies from it yet.
You could try the following options to make some money from your mobile apps;
- Integrate Ads into your application
- Partner or Sell the the app to a big company who needs it
- Charge Premium SMS
- Sell the App to users
I will briefly take each one after the other.
Integrate Adverts into your mobile application. There are many mobile advertising platforms which works well with publishers to distribute their adverts. Some of these mobile advertising networks include but not limited to:
1. AdMob - By Google for most mobile platforms. iOS,Android, Mobile Web
2. Airpush - For Android Publishers
3. smaato - For iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Blackberry and Bada
The above mobile ad networks provide easy to follow instructions on how to create an account and publish their adverts on your apps.
You can make some decent monies by integrating adverts into both native and mobile web application. To make money, your application has to be engaging to ensure users keep going back to using it. A less appealing and less useful app will be uninstalled or used less frequently meaning your will see less clicks on the ads you will be publishing. You can check out this article on how to create engaging mobile apps and solutions.
Partner or Sell the app to a big company who needs it. So you have a very good app but stuck with how to monetize it, depending on the purpose of your application, you can sell it to a Mobile Content provider or directly to the telcos. This is not always a sure bet but if it is an app or solution which will make them stand out and provide very unique services to their customers they are likely to consider it.
Some of the unique services which institutions have partnered or bought outright in the past include some of the following:
1. Chat messaging services similar to WhatsApp and GroupMe
2. Media Streaming and Content Stores
3. Text to Email services
4. A mobile application to read news from a news agency’s website
Charge Premium SMS. You can integrate premium SMS charges into your native mobile application. You can let users download the application for free and have the application send SMS to a short code which is at a tariff to unlock certain information or features in the app.
You must however have a relationship or be in partnership with a telco to use this feature, meaning you will definitely have to split revenue made on the short code with the them. You can either be in partnership with the telco or a Mobile Content company like Mobile Content.Com if in Ghana :)
This model works very well if your application is region specific and has high traffic. The diagram below attempts to explain this model.
Sell the app in the market: The last option besides integrating Ads, partnering with another company and charging premium SMS I will talk about is to sell the app in the market. Yes many of us here in Africa don’t have the means to purchase in the various mobile app markets but the other side of the world have got the means.
Choosing this model will mean your application must have a global relevance. There are many apps already implementing this model:
1. Nkyea by Nkyea Learning Systems - There are many people out there who will like to learn Asante Twi hence will purchase this application especially outside Ghana. This an educational app available in Apple’s App Store at $2.99.