This is interesting. Airtel in Zambia launched Airtel Money a few months back. Airtel Money is a mobile money service that allows customers to send and receive money on their mobile phones. Now Multichoice has partnered up with them so that Airtel Money customers can pay DSTV subscriptions straight from phones.
This is interesting firstly because it would suggest that Airtel Money is aiming at the top end of the market - DSTV isn't exactly cheap. Or maybe businesses that subscribe to DSTV. Either way, it seems a very different manifestation of mobile money to the "banking for the unbanked" developmental tool generally talked about in development circles.
The article also suggests that "this means that Airtel customer can now conveniently pay their DSTv
subscription without having to come to any of the Multichoice branches
and agencies". The implication, assuming the article isn't merely overstating, is one of people skipping right over paying bills online to using mobile phones instead, which, given the high-end nature of the goods in question, suggests mobile commerce taking root more quickly than anticipated in the high-value markets in Southern Africa.
All very interesting.
*note for non-locals: DSTV is a satellite TV service offered by South African company MultiChoice and available in hotels and wealthy homes across most of sub-Saharan Africa. Airtel is a mobile phone provider.