Telecommunication firm MTN has revealed plans to launch a new instant messaging platform. It is meant to compete with the likes of Facebook, Whatsapp and WeChat.
The platform which was built by staff of the telecom firm has been under beta testing for some months now.
Group Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Rob Shuter says the instant messaging services will form part of the company’s mobile money portfolio.
The service is to enable mobile payments for the unbanked and under banked especially in Africa.
Mr Shuter said “we will begin launching across our operational markets this year, starting with two West African markets
He also stated that “When it comes to taking on applications like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger the platform will offer communication channels which are not only reliant on data.”
The MTN Boss also revealed they are first and foremost building in SMS integration into the messaging app which is really important.
The integration of SMS according to him will allow data-enabled 3G customers to converse with non-data customers across a seamless messaging platform.
MTN Messaging app
MTN’s messaging app is built from scratch by an in-house team and will offer localisation across it’s operational markets and currently supports 54 language.
The platform would be a messaging-centric app with an embedded payment mechanism.
It will also offer incentives for customers via the bundling of data promotions and services.
Integrating this platform within the MTN messaging application would allow users to make payments to other Mobile Money customers easily.
They will also be able to communicate with other users via data-reliant and SMS messaging.