My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel's Mobile Money Service in 2014 - Haiti Tcho Tcho with ScotiaBank heralds Cashless Society by 2015

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Digicel's Mobile Money Service in 2014 - Haiti Tcho Tcho with ScotiaBank heralds Cashless Society by 2015

“We will be working with the larger banks and the BOJ ... to get a model that works with the regulations - because that model is not yet decided upon”

CEO for Digicel Jamaica, Barry O'Brien in conversation with the Wednesday Business Gleaner on Wednesday April 23rd 2014

It may not have escaped the notice of some of my readers that I’d mentioned that Telecom Provider Digicel has plans to launch an e-Money service, more popularly known as Mobile Money as reported in “Digicel to roll out e-Money service in Jamaica”, published Wednesday April 23, 2014 by Richard Browne, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

And yet again, Jamaica is not the first to receive this service, as it’s already been used in Haiti under the Brand name Tcho Tcho Mobile by Digicel Haiti. Not bad for a country that also makes their own Tablets, a feat Jamaica is yet to emulate as explained in my blog article entitled “Haiti's Surtab SA and Handxom SA making 7-inch Tablet to supply Digicel - Pengelley's Tablets need Cheap Electricity for Plants to make LED, Li-Ion Batteries and Solar Panels”.

Telecom Provider Digicel apparently had harboured thoughts of going into Mobile Money as far back as 2012 when they’d partnered with Boom Financial and inked a US$17 million MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a view to enter the Remittance Market using their Mobile Network as the Platform to deliver the service.

They have not succeeded in Jamaica. But they’d already made a mark in Haiti by November 2010 where they launched their Mobile Money service Tcho Tcho Mobile with ScotiaBank as their Banking partner as stated in “MOBILE MONEY SERVICE COMES TO HAITI WITH “TCHO TCHO MOBILE” FROM DIGICEL AND SCOTIABANK”, published Monday, 22 November, 2010, Digicel Group.

Up to this point, Tcho Tcho Mobile had been wildly popular in this very large and still very wild and mountainous country where Banking services are almost non-existent and bank lines are super long.  If your studying French, now’s the time to bone up by watching this video from Digicel Haiti!

With more than 50 merchants islandwide granting discounts and high as 20%, Tcho Tcho allows customer to send and receive as much as US$2,999 per day using their Mobile phones. The partnership with Scotiabank, which is to ensure compliance with Haiti's Central Bank to prevent Money Laundering, suggests that if Telecom Provider plans to launch a similar service in Jamaica, Scotiabank , may be their partner in Jamaica.

Digicel decided on Mobile Money – History of Mobile Money in Jamaica means that ScotiaBank’s their Bank

Coincidentally, 2012 was also the same year that the JCCUL (Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League) had also partnered with Mozido Jamaica Limited in to conquer the US$2 billion Remittance Market, only to have their plans given the kibosh by the BOJ (Bank of Jamaica) in march 2012 as pointed out in my blog article entitled “JCCUL JCUES is put on hold by the BOJ - ePayment setback means Mozido has been Bewitched”.

Their service, JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services), would have been the first Mobile Money service in Jamaica. It would have heralded the coming of the Cashless Society, with the Unbanked in Jamaican Society using their Mobile Phones to do transactions with their Remittances instead of physical Cash as pointed out in my blog article entitled BOJ stalling on Mobile Money Regulations as new entrants appear - Herald for the Cashless Society as Smartphones and Mobile Money are The Perfect Storm and Curse of Chucky”.

The BOJ eventually laid some ground rules for Mobile Money in February 2013 as stated in my blog article entitled BOJ to regulate and approve Mobile Money Industry in Jamaica - JCCUL JCUES is the Man of Steel as GraceKennedy joins The Last Stand for a Cashless Societyby which time other player had come on stream with their plans to capitalize on this untapped market.

Eventually the JCCUL and Mozido Jamaica Limited partnership on JCUES bore fruit, with the BOJ finally giving approval for Mobile Money Services in July of 2013 as stated in my blog article entitledJCCUL get's approval from BOJ to launch their JCUES Mobile Money Platform - JCUES Mobile Money Wolverine (2013) marks the Kick-Ass 2 (2013) beginning of a Cashless Society”.

Since then I've not seen any large scale implementation of JCUES or any Marketing, suggesting that they're still ramping up for a launch, possibly by July 2014.

Digicel taking advantage of smartphone Boom – ScotiaBank partnership may herald Cashless Society

After all, Telecom Provider Digicel has it as their aim to boost ICT’s (Internet and computer Technology) contribution to their Financial bottom line to 25% and higher as stated in my blog article entitled “Digicel to invest US$85 million in 4G LTE Network - 25% of Total revenue from ICT as 4G LTE Investments designed to weather the coming Summer WhatsApp Storm”.

So Telecom Provider Digicel is taking advantage of the new Regulatory environment created by the BOJ and have decided to throw their hat into the Mobile Money Market. The US$2 billion Remittances Market is too lucrative for them to ignore. Especially as Tcho Tcho Mobile has been so successful for Digicel Haiti!

Interestingly too, their Telecom Network is creating the conditions for Mobile Money to blossom. Since Christmas 2013, the DL600 and the DL700 smartphones have been boosting the use of Data Service in Jamaica for BOTH Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Digicel as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Jamaicans fall in love with Digicel's DL600 and DL700 during Christmas 2013 - Sub-US$100 smartphones driving rapid smartphone adoption in Jamaica as Manufacturing is Possible”.

Now with 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) licenses being sold and Wireless Broadband the horizon as described in my blog article entitled “LIME and Digicel have purchase AWS and 700 MHZ Spectrum for 4G LTE - Spectrum Purchase by the Number with Strings Attached as Ministry gets kitty donations from Local Telcos”, both Telecom Providers have plans to launched their own LTE Wireless Broadband Networks.

Good to note that Broadband Internet isn’t needed to make Mobile Money work, as it can be done mainly via SMS (Short Messaging Service) or Text Messaging. This is the case in Haiti, where the Money is spent via sending and receiving a Text message with the Terminals at the store for processing Cash being the only Data Connected Devices, mainly using EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) to access the Boom Financial Platform for Tcho Tcho Mobile.

Minister of Finance Dr. Peter Phillips missed a Golden opportunity to implement an ATM Withdrawal Tax and in the process, stipulate that all Cash Transactions be outlawed and instead be done via the newly-regulated Mobile Money Systems as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Minister of Finance, Dr. Peter Phillips withdraws ATM WithDrawal Tax - Wealthier Class Big Stick quells the Perfect Storm for Mobile Money and Cashless Society”.

Possibly Telecom Provider Digicel, via slick marketing, can launch a Mobile Money service powered by Boom Financial in partnership with Scotiabank that can get Jamaicans sending Remittances to Jamaica naturally interested in doing their transactions via Mobile Money!

Until then, fellow Jamaicans, Tcho Tcho from Digicel Haiti!

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