Ericsson, best known as one of the world’s biggest makers of cellular network equipment, is growing a fintech business that enables mobile payments across the developing world.
Flying somewhat under the radar, the Swedish company’s software underpins more than one in five mobile transactions globally today, serving over 400 million mobile wallet accounts in 24 countries. That makes Ericsson’s one of the largest white-label platforms in the world.
Africa is a key market for the Mobile Financial Services unit’s newly appointed head, Michael Wallis-Brown.
“We’re touching 10% of the market in Africa today, and we can get to 50%,” Wallis-Brown said in an interview. “That’s enormous growth for us.”
Ericsson has an “aggressive expansion plan” for the business while looking to grow into new markets potentially also into Europe and the US, he said. Wallis-Brown, who counts himself a fintech veteran with a long background at rival Nokia and the start-up world, declined to share revenue data for his unit or details on its business-to-business licensing model.
The platform allows ordinary people, including many who currently lack access to banking, to receive basic financial services such as withdrawing, transferring and storing money. There are also more advanced services such as various merchant and e-commerce payments, micro-lending and insurance.
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On Tuesday, Ericsson said it had extended a 10-year partnership with MTN Group, which already has 63 million active subscribers on the platform. A transition to public cloud deployments means “they are now able to literally scale exponentially”, Wallis-Brown said. — Rafaela Lindeberg, (c) 2024 Bloomberg LP