Ethio Telecom has elevated its mobile money platform, telebirr, into a super app that provides users with access to an array of services within a single interface, including e-commerce, food delivery, entertainment, utility bill payments, transportation, and more.
The super app, which was unveiled Thursday, March 23, 2023, at the newly built science museum, marks a major milestone for the state-owned operator as it continues to rapidly expand its mobile money platform in anticipation of upcoming competition from M-PESA
telebirr super app, which currently has over 20 mini apps, is also a great benefit to local startups as it allows them to tap into telebirr’s large user base of over 30 million users.
Some of the apps available within telebirr include Zmall, Tikus Delivery, Hule Beje, Ahun, Digital Equb, Ashewa, Guzo Go, and Kuraztech, alongside government services such as tax and immigration services.
Super apps, which have gained widespread popularity in emerging markets and Asia, consolidate various services and functionalities into a single platform and aim to create a seamless user experience.
Companies like WeChat in China and Grab in Southeast Asia have successfully integrated multiple services such as messaging, payments, shopping, and transportation all under one umbrella.
Ethio Telecom launched telebirr, in May 2021. By August 2022, the company had introduced digital financial products, including microloans, savings, and overdraft services. As of the end of last year, telebirr had reportedly provided loan facilities amounting to 1.17 billion birr.
Safaricom Ethiopia is also progressing in its rollout of the mobile money service M-PESA. Last month, Ethiopia introduced a draft directive aimed at opening the country’s mobile money market to foreign operators. This directive, designed to replace the 2020 directive that opened the sector to non-financial players, proposes a license fee of $150 million.
The directive refers to the $150 million fee as an “investment protection fee,” which is defined as the amount paid by foreign nationals investing in businesses exclusively reserved for domestic investors or the government.