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Ovum conducted a survey with 100 communication service providers (CSPs) across 35 emerging markets to assess the state of mobile money services from an operator perspective: the benefits, challenges, partnerships, competition, and more.


  • Revenue contributions from mobile money services are a key benefit to operators, but there are other advantages. Mobile money services can drive usage of core communications offerings, help reach new customer segments, and provide competitive differentiation.
  • CSPs cite OTT consumer tech players and messaging/social platforms as the biggest competitive threats to their mobile money services. CSPs are also feeling pressure from traditional players such as banks, which are upping their game and innovating like never before.
  • CSPs are underestimating the continued importance of agents for certain core functions and are falling short when it comes to ongoing agent network management, notably agent monitoring, training, incentives, and liquidity.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand how mobile money services benefit the operator business, from direct revenues to providing competitive differentiation.
  • Learn about the challenges facing mobile money services and how to address them.
  • Benefit from unique insights into agent network dynamics and how they can be made more effective and efficient.
  • Understand how operators are measuring the success of mobile money services and the metrics in place.

Key questions answered

  • What is the state of play for mobile money services in emerging markets?
  • What are the best features and functions for driving mobile money service usage?
  • What key challenges face mobile money services in emerging markets?
  • What are the best sales and distribution channels for mobile money services?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations for communications service providers

Maximizing the mobile money opportunity

  • A growth market with a lot to play for
  • Success depends on multiple moving parts working together
  • There is more to driving usage than ease of use alone
  • Smartphones are a key channel – but others are underutilized

Competition and collaboration

  • CSP mobile money services are being hit by OTT players
  • OTT players are also viewed as key partners
  • Agent network management needs to improve
  • CSP engagement with regulators is still problematic

Building for the future

  • Barriers must be removed for mobile money to fully thrive
  • Platform capabilities are key to a strong ecosystem
  • Investments are likely across the board, but driving usage is center stage


  • Methodology
  • Author
  • Further Reading