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Lonestar Cell Introduces Mobile Money Service

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Lonestar Communication Cooperation in partnership with EcoBank Liberia Limited is expected to launch a new technology in the country called Mobile Money. The services will enable subscribers to send and receive money via mobile phones. The program is expected to be officially launched this Friday, September 9th.

Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor Dr. Mills Jones, last Friday praised Ecobank Liberia and Lonestar Cell MTN for collaborating in the pioneering stage to bring Mobile Money to Liberia under the approval of the central bank. 

Speaking at a local hotel in Monrovia when he formally launched the Mobile Money Service in Liberia, Dr. Jones said, “I’m pleased to announce this afternoon, that all the background work has been done and that the mobile money product is ready for the Liberian market.”

He said the success story behind the launch was due to collaborative efforts between the bank and the Management of Ecobank, including its partner Lonestar Cell MTN, who share the view of the Central Bank of Liberia that the introduction of mobile money services here is a vision worth pursuing.

Governor Jones said although they were talking about a banking product, LoneStar Cell MTN as the telephone services provider has also played a vital role in the process, working with Ecobank and being directly involved in meetings with CBL’s staff.

According to the Governor, Lonestar Cell MTN and Ecobank have been given permission to provide the service in the country, adding that Mobile Money is a banking product. As the forerunner of GSM service provider in Liberia, Lonestar Cell MTN still maintains the country’s largest subscribers on its network, which has the ideal platform for mobile money services.

Adding absolute value to products and services is Lonestar Cell MTN’s specialty.  With 10 years of experience on the GSM market, the company continues to provide innovative products and services to  its many subscribers more than any other GSM company in Liberia.

With subscribers in all 15 counties of Liberia, Lonestar Cell MTN realizes that the mobile phone can do more than just serve as a means of communication.  It has now introduced a new product on the Liberian market – a product set to revolutionize the idea of money transfer in and around the country.

The Mobile Money product is being introduced for the first time in Liberia as a cash management service through the use of mobile phones. It is a new century innovation service successfully used in emerging markets in countries where MTN operates. The service has already been launched in Ghana (MTN), Ivory Coast (MTN), Benin (MTN),Cameroon (MTN), Guinea Bissau (MTN), Swaziland (MTN), Uganda (MTN), Zimbabwe (MTN), Kenya (M-Pesa)  and South Africa, respectively.

Statistics show that mobile phones create jobs, stimulate investment and provide revenues for governments.  Statistics also show that just about 10% of Liberians have bank accounts, while over 40% of the population has mobile phones. 

So, with  difficult roads and limited formal banking facilities around the country, Mobile Money, a cash management service by Lonestar Cell MTN in collaboration with Ecobank Liberia Limited will provide the opportunity for more Liberians, particularly in the rural areas to have access to cash, transfer money, pay bills, do business and improve their lives economically.

A woman who sells at the Jorkpentown Market in Sinkor, Monrovia is one of the earliest users of Mobile Money during recent testing.  The lady explains how she enjoys the service:  “Lonestar Cell MTN is clearly a Leader that has distinguished itself as a provider of innovative and high quality solutions.”

Asked what she meant, she replied, “In trying out the Mobile Money service, I have been able to send money to my son in Buchanan to pay his fees at the Grand Bassa Community College where he is a student and not worry whether the money I sent would reach him. I found the service very effective, convenient and affordable. Clearly, this is better than any other money transfer service I have ever used”.

In Liberia, it is clear that much is happening with respect to development in the various sectors like the  agriculture and health services. However, quantifying the benefits of services in both sectors is hard as they are still in their early days in most parts of the world.

What is rather obvious and set to bring a true revolution to mobile phone subscribers is this new mobile service product that is being introduced by Liberia’s Leader in Telecommunications, Lonestar Cell MTN in partnership with Ecobank Liberia. Mobile Money is a mobile banking service that is set to deliver the most economic benefits to subscribers throughout here.

For example, suppose you want to send money from Monrovia to your family in a village near Ganta, Nimba County you can now simply subscribe to the Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money scheme by making a deposit of an amount to be credited to your mobile phone and then send the code to a family member through text message and instantly, they are able to cash out and receive the money sent.

The flexibility of this system provides greater benefits for companies as well as those already signing up with the program to pay their workers in the rural areas through the mobile payment process. This provides safety, since companies do not have to risk having someone physically carry large sums of cash on their person.

Lonestar Cell MTN’s Chief Executive Officer Mazen Mroue, says that in reference to Lonestar Cell MTN’s public engagement, “we made reference to a number of exciting and innovative products and services planned for this year. We are again excited to say that one of those services is Mobile Money, which is based on latest technology introduced in continuation of Lonestar Cell’s efforts of keeping Liberia abreast of modern technology”.

The launch of Mobile Money in Liberia in partnership with Ecobank Liberia allows one to perform a range of financial transactions using mobile technology.  Mr. Mroue said this followed the introduction of Liberia’s first Mobile Broadband Internet service iConnect, which provides the fastest mobile internet service to businesses, residences, schools and other places.

There are several wide range of services that the Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money offers such as : Money transfer services: Cash-In (deposit) to account, Cash-out (withdrawal) from account, Account to Account transfer & Account to Cash transfer; Airtime purchase (converted to any currency class); Bulk payment (allows companies, micro finance institutions and civil servants to make payments to a large group of people); Bill payments (allows individuals to pay DSTV bills, electricity, water, school fees, etc); International remittance (Western Union and others).

Mobile Money subscribers or users with transactions such as cash-in & cash-out will have the option of doing so at many designated Cash Points around the country, including Ecobank Liberia facilities.

According to Lonestar Cell MTN’s CEO, who attended the CBL’s launch of the service, it is very clear that that Governor Mills Jones at the helm of the Central Bank of Liberia has proven quite effective and is technologically advancing in promoting the banking sector in Liberia to bring relief to citizens, particularly in rural Liberia.

Mr. Mroue expressed pleasure that Lonestar Cell MTN is the only telecommunication company in Liberia, partnering with EcoBank to launch the product with approval from the Central Bank. Lonestar Cell MTN and Ecobank Liberia have introduced this product and service with a gradual approach reaching throughout the nation.

Many Liberians have been expressing great appreciation to Lonestar Cell MTN and continue to remark that Lonestar Cell MTN remains the leader in the industry.  Indeed, Mobile Money is here and is already changing the lives of many Liberians. A visit at the Lonestar Cell MTN office saw many Liberians rushing to sign up for the service.

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