Myanmar: Telenor, Yoma to launch mobile financial service Wave Money in 2016

Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money.

Myanmar based mobile operator Telenor, will be launching its mobile money transfer service Wave Money, as a subsidiary- in partnership with Yoma Bank.

Telenor, has a 51 per cent stake in the new venture while 49 per cent is held by Yoma bank,

Having gone thorough about five weeks of commercial testing in upper Myanmar, Wave Money will be released for the mass market, the un-banked and those with limited access to the bank. It is expected to be released officially as soon as the Central Bank issues regulations regarded the mobile financial services.

Brad Jones, chief executive officer of Wave Money told DEALSTREETASIA that the money transfer will be the first step and the service will include a suite of other services related to mobile financial transactions.

“We want to begin with the transfer of money and wanted to go with a very focused product and a very simple product. The initial service will be money transfer but we do see the potential future services including the airtime top-ups, bill payments, international remittance, salary disbursements,” said Jones.

U Set Aung, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar said last month that the bank will release the regulation on mobile money very soon.

For using the service, people can go to a Wave shop or self-register. Money can be cashed-in to the nearest wave shop with the most Kyats 200,000 (about $200) for both transfer and storage of money. The sender and receiver needs to show their national identity card and receive a transfer ID.

“By the end of March (2016), we plan to have about 6000 wave agents. That would include Yangon and upper Myanmar,” said Jones.

“One thing that we’ll looking is also things like salary disbursements. We like to have the people to be pay directly into our mobile account, and rather than cash all that money out, they might transfer some of the money. It’s going to take time to do type of the product but over time it would be possible,” said Jones.
The transfer fees of Wave Money would not be cheaper than the banks but they hope that the customers would value the convenience of the service, said Jones.

“After the mobile financial services are official, Wave Money would be ready for mass marketing, which would be more about educating people about the product and to build trust,”he added.

To date, Telenor has approximately 12 million users in Myanmar and aim to have about 4000 towers constructed around the country by the end of 2015.