Monty Mobile CEO on Transforming Mobile Operators Into Virtual Banks As one of the most dynamic CEOs in the world of telecom, Mountasser Hachem is better known for transforming the company and giving a new lease of life to operators in the telecommunications industry.

By Punita Sabharwal

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With a wisely built product portfolio, high-quality service and a dedicated team, Monty Mobile is constantly evolving in the telecom business and is now collaborating with international operators from across the world whilst competing with top players in the field. The company is all set to raise funds worth USD$5 billion for its new mobile fintech project in Asia. With innovation at its fulcrum, Monty Mobile encourages a team-oriented environment that contributes to improved employee communication, cooperation and performance. Entrepreneur gleans further insights in an exclusive interaction with Mountasser Hachem, Founder and CEO, Monty Mobile.

What is your range of products and services for telecom operators?

Monty Mobile offers mobile operators and service providers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that includes SMS monetization products, roaming solutions, enterprise and BSS solutions. In addition, we are also developing Mobile Virtual Banking (MVB) platform, based on our Big Data analytics platform, to help operators transform their business and become mobile virtual banks. One of our focuses at the moment is to raise over USD$5 billion to invest with mobile operators in Asia in fintech.

We also have one of the largest Value Added Services (VAS) portfolios with a rich selection of revenue-generating products for mobile operators.

What kind of innovation has the company made in the last two decades?

Our mission is to help operators maximize their revenues and support them through innovative revenue-generating products. Operators have a lot of lost opportunities when it comes to customer data, value-added services, mobile advertising, mobile money, financial services, or others. Many of
them need to start changing the way they do business and adapt to new trending technologies. Most operators still rely on conventional strategies to generate revenues but telecom today needs risk takers and pioneers to lead the way. This is why we work hand in hand with the operators to help them discover their hidden gems. The expanded competition from OTT providers like WhatsApp is causing a significant decline in ARPU (Average Revenue per User) for most mobile operators worldwide. They are also adapting to the changing customer behaviour much faster than mobile operators.

International markets are focused now more than ever on newer technologies such as IoT, 5G and Smart Cities and this is exactly where the telecom sector is heading towards. Various operators in the region are adopting these new streams of revenues, in addition to the digital boom that is currently taking place while others are still behind.

What are the new products planned for mobile operators?

Our newest products and services will be officially launched during our RVS 8 (Roaming, VAS & SMS) event to be held in Dubai from November 10-12. We will be discussing our MVB solution that will help transform operators into virtual banks in addition to our M-Wallet, one of the services allowing banked and unbanked customers to make money transactions anytime directly from their mobile phones. It is a fast, safe and low-cost payment medium, branded by the MNO, for a better customer service and engagement. We believe that banks will soon have a secondary role as the world is heading towards digital banking and digital money transfers, currencies and others. We have diversified into VAS, BSS and Enterprise solutions as well.

We have maintained a leading position in the region in terms of our SMS business. Our SMS monetization products are well-known among operators and thus we keep upgrading and enhancing them.

We have also researched some of the pains that operators go through and have come up with RID, a roaming BSS solution that helps the operator automate and centralize its roaming activities. Our key message to operators is that with Monty Mobile, there are no losses. We provide quality offers, promise on time and secure payments whilst giving them the opportunity to try out new cutting-edge services that are guaranteed to boost their business and take it to the next level.

Having spent over two decades in telecom, what have been your key learnings from the sector?

As the world of telecom is fast-paced, the key is to keep evolving and changing according to the market's needs in order to offer services and products of value. There are lots of opportunities and challenges in the region, in different markets and fields, especially in telecom. As these opportunities are getting slimmer by the day, change and innovation are extremely crucial.

How big is Monty Mobile's play in India?

Monty Mobile's main development arm is located in India. Our Development team in Bengaluru is our backbone in terms of enhancing and optimizing our products and services, in addition to being a chief support operation. Lately, we have also been working closely in the Indian market with local aggregators and operators to offer better services and products.

Tell us about your global presence.

The company has enjoyed phenomenal growth in recent years, growing from one office to 11 offices worldwide. We are operating in MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SEA and even in Europe. We have over 300 employees distributed over 11 offices in India, UK, Lebanon, Croatia, Belgium, Germany, UAE, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Jordan.

How did you fund the business over the years?

The parent company started as a small one-office operation. With an innate interest in telecom and technology, I believe I am a calculated risk-taker and love to take up challenges. I jumped at the opportunity because of the rewarding nature of the industry and the innovation I could see coming. After 15 years in this field, I believe I had made the right choice.

(This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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