The Mobile Money Deployment Tracker: Growth in a maturing industry

The GSMA Mobile Money Programme has updated its Mobile Money Deployment Tracker as part of its recent launch of the State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2024. The dynamic tool offers a bird’s eye view of mobile money services worldwide through active monitoring of the number of live deployments. Using data from both primary and secondary sources, this tracker provides insights into the evolving landscape of mobile financial services.

The new tracker illustrates two trends: the growth of services in Sub-Saharan Africa and a rise in non-telco-led mobile money services globally. The first may seem surprising since SOTIR 2024 highlighted a maturing industry. This remains true – the number of live services totalled 319 in December 2021, 315 in December 2022 and 310 in December 2023. On the one hand, 17 global deployments were recorded to have ceased operations between December 2022 and December 2023, with almost half of those in Sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, 26 new entries were added to the tracker in this period, with 65% launched in Sub-Saharan Africa. This indicates that the region continues to be a competitive and innovative landscape for mobile money services, further solidifying its position as the epicentre of mobile money.

Since the last major audit of the tracker in January 2023, we found that services no longer fit the criteria of a mobile money service. By revisiting each deployment and checking this against the definition of a mobile money service, 14 services were disqualified or amended across all sub-regions. For a service to be counted as ‘live’, it must have the following three attributes:

  1. It must be available to the unbanked;
  2. Transactions must be available to be made via mobile; and
  3. There must be a physical agent network outside of banks and ATMs, which must be larger than the formal outlets.

Alternatively, the service must not use mobile as an alternative channel for traditional banking services.

As the mobile money industry evolves, there is a natural question of whether the definition should evolve with it. Out of the 26 new services added to the tracker, 70% were not operationally led by a mobile network operator. This trend was mirrored in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 65% of new services being non-telco-led. The term ‘fintech’ has become ever more prevalent in the mobile money world, bringing with it an assumption of full digitalisation, smartphones and applications – a slightly different picture to physical agent networks, USSD and older handsets that the industry started with. The current definition still reflects the ongoing state of the industry but may change in the future as the landscape continues to evolve.

To learn more about how the mobile money industry grew in 2023, read our latest State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money.

Is something missing from the tracker? Email us at [email protected]