Uganda telecom upgrades mobile money platform
EAST AFRICA BUSINESS WEEK.
Uganda telecom, a partially state owned telecommunication service provider, has signaled it will embark on upgrading its mobile money banking platform, M-Sente, in the next two weeks to enable their customers enjoy the service flawlessly.
Over the years, telecom customers have embraced the use of the handset to do business because of the convenience it offers them compared to other traditional ways of handling and accessing money.
However it has not been a glowing journey as technological hiccups continue to challenge the industry necessitating that service providers keep on upgrading to newer technology to meet the demands of the market.
Uganda telecom despite being the oldest telecom company has not been performing well on all fronts with dwindling customer base, financial constraints brought about by a number of problems including political factors.
The M-Sente upgrade is part of other upgrades, renovations, innovations and changes the firm’s new management led by LAP Green of Libya who took over in 2011 after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi are undertaking.
“The brand is changing and the way we serve our customer is also changing, within the next two and there after we will be upgrading our M-Sente service to a more competitive platform to give our customers leverage,” Peter Kakaire, the head of M-sente at Uganda telecom said in an interview.
The firm last week rewarded its loyal M-Sente customers with cash prizes, phones and digital television decoders at a function where it launched deposit and win with M-Sente promotion that will see more customers win weekly prizes for the next ten weeks.
Uganda Telecom customers can also access the promotion on social networks Twitter and Facebook where they can win airtime and mobile money.
Mobile money has deeply entrenched into the lives of Ugandans with some of the people using it as a saving tool since going to the banking halls takes time and resources.
Samuel Mulondo, a Uganda telecom customer, uses M-Sente to save part of his income. He prefers M-Sente because it has few withdraw points and this helps him to keep his money away from his overspending hands.
However with the upgrade coming, Mulondo’s privilege will cease to be as the service provider intends to increase the number of withdraw and deposit points or agents.
In March 2007, LAP Greencom, a subsidiary of Libya African Investment Portfolio (LAP), a company owned by the Government of Libya, bought into Ucom, while Detecon sold their interest in the consortium to Telecel International. The new shareholding structure in UTL, left the Ugandan government with a 31% ownership, while Ucom’s shareholding increased to 69%.
In recent years, the Uganda telecom industry has been undergoing some upheaval as companies either consolidate or bail out. Last year, Warid sold out to India-based Airtel Bharti and not long ago, Orange Uganda announced an interest in sharing their operations.