- Are we entering the era of the mobile super app?
- Orange has unveiled a super app that will be offered in 17 markets across the Middle East and Africa (MEA)
- Its move comes only weeks after BT’s consumer division, EE, unveiled a similar approach to the UK market
- Telcos in the Middle East have also developed multifunctional customer engagement apps
Are we at the dawn of the mobile super app era? Only weeks after BT’s consumer division, EE, unveiled a new strategy that revolves around a digital ID-driven, multifunctional application, Orange is set to launch a super app called ‘Max it’ in five markets in Africa, with a further 12 to follow.
The concept is not new but has not been widely adopted across the telecom services sector. A super app provides a user simple access to multiple services (communications, e-commerce, entertainment and so on) via one secure log-in on a mobile device: The idea for service providers is that having multiple services available through a single app will increase loyalty, improve the customer experience (one portal and log-in for multiple services) and boost revenues, whether from adding new services or taking a cut from the sales of partner products/services.
For Max it, the initial mix of portal services covers communications (mobile and fixed line account management), financial services (Orange Money’s broad range of payments, money transfers, savings and other functions) and an e-commerce platform offering digital content (online games, music, TV, videos, news and more) and a digital ticketing service that enables the purchase of tickets for concerts, transport and more).
The initial markets where Max it will be launched are Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Botswana: The app will then be made available in the 12 other markets across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region where Orange offers its mobile services. Across all of its MEA markets, Orange currently has 148 million mobile customers.
But Max it isn’t just being targeted at users of Orange’s mobile services in those countries – it is “accessible to everyone, regardless of their [mobile service provider]... with Orange Money as the payment base while accepting other solutions for paying for purchases via the super app,” according to the operator.
“With Max it, everyone can meet their different needs, such as managing their phone plan, finances or shopping,” explained Jérôme Hénique, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa. “It’s an open, scalable platform that opens up many development opportunities for the continent and strengthens our approach to inclusion,” he added.
Orange Group CEO Christel Heydemann also weighed in on the launch. “Max it perfectly reflects Orange’s spirit of innovation in Africa and the Middle East. By bringing together all our services and those of numerous partners, this application strengthens our position as a multiservice operator and our desire to offer the best of digital services to all our customers,” she added.
The operator is expecting quick uptake and has set itself a target of having 45 million active (that’s an important qualifier!) Max it users by 2025.
And what about offering Max it in countries outside MEA? Might Orange adopt this approach in some of its European markets? The operator says only that it is “focusing on deploying Max it in the MEA region” and that it doesn’t have any further comment at this stage.
No doubt it will be keeping a close eye on what happens with EE in the UK, which is aiming to offer a broad range of subscription services (with an initial focus on gaming) and electronic products via its portal – see BT’s EE unveils its super app.
It will also be monitoring the progress and success of the super app platforms that have already been launched by telcos in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where e& (formerly Etisalat) and du have already adopted the approach, and will be keeping an eye on the Rakuten Group in Japan, which has been building customer loyalty across multiple digital services for some time and only relatively recently added communications services through the launch of the greenfield operator Rakuten Mobile.
- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV
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