MNOs and Retailers: Clash of the Titans in the US on prepaid wireless topup

What happens when one of the highest revenue areas of prepaid cards disappears? In Kenya, this has been the evolving conflict between the scratch guard agents whose commissions depend on selling prepaid topup and the desire for MNOs to save commissions by providing an application for customers to remotely topup their accounts over the mobile phone. The situation becomes further complicated by the fact that these agents act as human ATMs into Safaricom’s mPesa payment system. So, for now, it appears Safaricom is less likely to exacerbate this agent conflict situation.

But… just when you thought there were few analogies between the US and Kenya as it relates to mobile payments… Watch this…

If you replace “scratch card” with “prepaid wireless card”… and replace Safaricom kiosk agent with Walmart… and replace Safaricom with AT&T, what begins to unfold?

The movement of prepaid topup from card to mobile changes the revenue structures of the retailers.

Mark my words: the clash of the titans is yet to begin…

Menekse Gencer

2 responses to “MNOs and Retailers: Clash of the Titans in the US on prepaid wireless topup

  1. Really, I think agree with you that the clash of the Titans is yet to begin. Talking from my own country’s view, (Nigeria), the good thing is the telecoms are not considered for licensing by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The monopoly would have been too much to bear. But there are indications banks may be considered for the mobile money payment service license and that would be another interesting development.


  2. The development of mobile wallets is an extension of the convenience of technology. Imagine having your financial livelihood –all in the palm of your hand

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