Mobile Financial Services Usage Accelerates In 2021
Fiji boasts the most advanced economy in the Pacific Islands and was also one of the first countries in the region to launch m-money services.
Both Vodafone and Digicel launched their services, M-PAiSA and MyCash respectively, in 2010. The operators’ offerings include domestic and international transfers, withdrawals, and bill payments.Operators have focused on partnerships to reach under-served populations, in the island’s remote areas, without access to physical bank branches. For example, since 2017, a tie-up between HFC Bank, Vodafone Fiji, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program, and ePay enables customers to transact using Vodafone’s M-PAISA service and a number of Point-of-Sale kiosks that are strategically placed in these communities.Meanwhile, in August 2021, Digicel partnered with BSP Bank to launch an Internet Payment Gateway service to allow Digicel customers to top up their MyCash mobile wallets directly from their bank account or a Visa card.The ubiquity of mobile coverage among the population as well as Covid-19 related disruptions to movement have also supported the growth in usage of m-money in recent years; m-money payments increased from around $100 million in 2016 to over $700 million in the first ten months of 2021.Key developments:
- Australian government contributes $1.33 billion of the $1.6 billion cost for Telstra to acquire Digicel Pacific, while the Competition and Consumer Commission approves the transaction subject to conditions;
- SpaceX sets up a temporary ground station in Fiji to provide an internet gateway for Tonga;
- Authorities launch a joint task force to investigate the telecoms cable and metal theft;
- Fiji’s public health sector and economy devastated by the Delta variant of Covid-19;
- Vodafone partners with Aryaka Networks to use the latter’s SD-WAN solutions to service its enterprise clients, contracts Comms Group to supply wholesale telecom services;
- Vodafone partners with ANZ Bank for transfers with M-PAiSA wallets; m-money payments increase from around $100 million in 2016 to over $700 million in the first ten months of 2021;
- Fiji government announces a 30-year tax holiday and duty concessions for any company wishing to invest more than FJD$40 million in submarine networks and associated infrastructure development;
- TFL announces a five-year plan to expand fibre infrastructure to more parts of the country; nearly completes its LTE network expansion for the Suva-Nausori corridor and parts of city of Lautoka;
- The Gondwana-2 international submarine cable to Fiji to be lit later in 2022;
- Digicel launches an Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service in partnership with BSP.
- Government allocates $4.7 million to the DigitalFiji project to accelerate the digitisation of public services;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data to December 2021, telcos' financial and operating data for 2021, recent market developments.
Companies covered in this report include:
Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Telecom Fiji (TFL), Fiji International Telecommunications (FINTEL), Kacific Broadband Satellites, Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), Vodafone Fiji (VFL), Digicel Fiji, Inkk Mobile, Unwired Fiji, Fintel Internet Services (Kidanet).