- Following the example of Absa, MTN launched a WhatsApp service on Tuesday.
- You can now buy MTN data via WhatsApp.
- The announcement came during a turbulent day for the company, which at one stage saw its share price down 7%.
In a dramatic day for MTN for other reasons, the company launched a new WhatsApp service on Tuesday to allow customers to interact with it via the popular text-messaging platform.
MTN's share price suffered a sharp drop in the morning, after the Nigerian government urged a Lagos court to proceed with a penalty of $2 billion (R29 billion) against MTN. The government first instituted the penalty last year, accusing MTN of evading taxes. MTN's share price has lost almost a fifth of its value in response.
By afternoon, its share price had recovered and was last trading less than a percent lower.
Meanwhile, MTN South Africa launched a new service that allows customers to buy airtime and data through Whatsapp.
The Whatsapp-based MTN Chat service will eventually also allow customers to speak to customer support and upgrade their packages. Customers will also get low-balance alerts via WhatsApp.
MTN follows Absa, which recently introduced WhatsApp-based “chat banking”.
Though MTN reportedly claimed a “world first” in allowing customers to buy airtime via WhatsApp, Absa customers can already do just that via its service.
WhatsApp remains by far the most popular messenger app in South Africa; according to a recent study, 49% of adult South Africans use WhatsApp – compared to Facebook Messenger's 32%.
As with the Absa service, MTN Chat has been enabled by South African-born company Clickatell, which was founded in Cape Town in 2000 to help businesses communicate via SMS.
It has since partnered with WhatsApp, and now has a head office in Silicon Valley, with 15,000 clients around the world, including Visa, IBM and McKinsey. Clickatell may even consider listing in the US this year.
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