The Y’ello King – And Lessons for Fintechs, Banks

The Y’ello King – And Lessons for Fintechs, Banks

If you look at the financial data coming out of the home of Y’ello, you may not believe that MTN Nigeria is operating in Nigeria. Yes, despite the paralyses in Nigeria, MTN has found a way to keep capturing value. I mean, this company is now at its own level: no one comes close.

MTN has posted revenue of N385.3 billion for Q1 2021, representing a 17% increase from the N329.1 billion reported in Q1 2020. The biggest line is this: “Digital revenue grew by 101.0% and fintech revenue by 28.5% as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. As of the end of March 2021, we had 449,100 registered MoMo agents and 4.6 million fintech customers.” Simply, MTN MoMo would have been one of the largest fintech companies in Nigeria if it was not within the MTN Group!

MTN reported an 8% growth in Voice related revenue topping N208 billion for the period under review. Data revenue continued to lead revenue growth printing at N105.7 billion, a 42.6% growth year on year, showing heavy reliance on data by MTN’s 61.5 million internet subscribers, the highest in the country.

MTN commands the market share for internet subscriptions owning about 42% of the market. MTN also controls 40% of the Voice market share, the highest compared to any other competitor.

What is the lesson? The empires of the future would be built on demand and companies which control demand will capture the most value. MTN has millions of customers, and anything it launches begins with millions of users on day 1.  With that in a world where supply is unbounded and unconstrained, MTN becomes dominant since the demand is already in-house.

This is the video on the Airbnb piece: If you want to win in the 21st century digital economy, you must control or influence demand, not supply. In the industrial age economy, power went to gatekeepers of supply. Today, the empire builders are those that control demand. This is possible because digital supply is unbounded and unconstrained, making it largely not a factor. Digital utilities like Google, Facebook, and Airbnb which control demand become the new gatekeepers.

Invest to control demand if you want to thrive in the 21st century.


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2 thoughts on “The Y’ello King – And Lessons for Fintechs, Banks

  1. Awopetu Emmanuel · Edit

    I believe we should have gotten to the point where, MTN profit no longer becomes news.

    Simply, that firm has mastered how to make profit in this climate and they seem to make turn anything they touch into shiny object juat as their brand logo. Well done to the team.

  2. MTN is approaching the minimum of $1 billion benchmark I expect top companies here to be grossing per quarter. We do not have many companies in the land, so the top ones ought to be grossing fat numbers, it will help encourage those of us still creating and building to believe that there’s actually a viable market to fight for.

    We need to be creating companies in their thousands each year, and we need to be sending millions of people into the digital space each year. It’s from the latter you grow the critical mass needed to power a digital economy. We need to be deliberate and intentional about these things, they don’t just happen.

    By creating many more ways to get people spend money, we in turn improve productivity, because the love of spending increases by spending, and the outcome can only lead to more job opportunities and improved wellbeing for the inhabitants. It’s not a complicated science, it only requires clarity of intent and purpose.

    Let the numbers keep growing, there’s hope.


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