Indosat, a Qatar-based Ooredoo Group telecom subsidiary, launched a mobile banking service in Indonesia. Based on a mobile wallet branded Dompetku (“my wallet” in Indonesian Bahasa), the company introduced basic services to individual customers, allowing them to buy mobile phone credit; pay electricity bills issued by PLN – Indonesia’s monopoly electricity supplier – and perform domestic customer-to-customer money transfers, and a variety of e-commerce and merchant payment options. These services were intended to generate revenue via fees, and Indosat executives hoped that signing customers up to its mobile wallet would tie them more firmly to the company’s service by making it more inconvenient to change to another phone provider. By July 2014 it was clear to Tauseef Riaz, head of Indosat’s Digital Services Unit, that the strategy was not having the desired effect. The mobile wallet had nearly a million registered customers, but less than 10% were active users. Furthermore, Indosat had lost its biggest revenue generator, PLN, after small retailers complained at being cut out of the loop. Other fees generated were lower than anticipated, partly because of competition. And new regulations meant that, after the pilot ended in December 2013, Indosat could no longer leverage its distribution network to recruit and educate customers – something that it had struggled to do even when it was allowed to – because resource constraints made it hard for its team of 40 field staff to train employees in more than 100,000 retail outlets. Given Kenya’s success with M-Pesa, what options does Tauseef have to make Dompetku a success?
To illustrate the challenges of starting internal growth initiatives with plans to leverage across a multinational company
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