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Mobile operator gives profits back to customers

And now for something completely different: a mobile network in Tanzania that gives profits back to customers. Tigo has already paid over $16.5-million.

Tanzania network operator Tigo has announced another quarterly payment of US$2.1million (Tshs 4.4 bilion) to its 4.6 million Tigo Pesa users, the seventh time in a row that the company is distributing profit to its mobile financial services users.

Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam last week Tigo Tanzania Head of Finance and Risk for Mobile Financial Services Obedi Laiser said that, cumulatively, the company has paid its mobile financial services users a total of US$16. 5 million (Tshs 35.5 billion) in quarterly payments since September 2014.

The payment is generated from profit accruing in the Tigo Pesa Trust accounts held with major commercial banks in Tanzania, Laiser said.

Tigo Tanzania, which calls itself the country’s “leading digital lifestyle company”, became the first telecoms company in the world in 2014 to share profit in this way, generated from its mobile money Trust Account in the form of a quarterly distribution to its customers.

The revenue share model is in line with the Tanzanian central bank,  Bank of Tanzania (BOT), which allows the country’s mobile operators to increase e-money deposits and mobile money transactions through new loyalty incentives.
“This profit share is payable to all Tigo Pesa users including individual customers, retail agents and our business partners each based on the e-value they have stored in their Tigo Pesa wallets,” Laiser said.

He added: “We are really excited to be announcing this profit share distribution for the seventh successive time. The payment underlines Tigo Tanzania’s commitment to provide financial access to our customers and to promote financial inclusion in the country through our Tigo Pesa services.”

According to the BOT, Tanzania is aiming at 50% national financial inclusion of its population by 2016. The East African country has an estimated population of 45-million people.

Tigo Tanzania offers a diverse product portfolio in voice, SMS, high-speed internet and mobile financial services, Tigo has pioneered innovations such as Facebook in Kiswahili, TigoPesa App for Android & iOS users, Tigo Music (Deezer), and East Africa’s first cross-border mobile money transfer with currency conversion. Tigo also has the country’s fastest and widest 4G network, launched across Tanzania’s main cities last year.

In the past three years, the company has launched over 500 new network sites, with plans to double this investment by 2017 in terms of coverage and additional capacity networks for deeper penetration in rural areas. With over 10-million registered subscribers, Tigo directly and indirectly employs over 300 000 Tanzanians, including an extended network of customer service representatives, mobile money merchants, sales agents and distributors.

Last year, the company announced an increased annual investment of US$120 million on infrastructure improvement and expansion, up  20% on annual spending over the previous three years.

Tigo is the biggest commercial brand of Millicom, an international company developing digital lifestyles in 12 countries, with commercial operations in Africa and Latin America and corporate offices in Europe and the USA.

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