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South African mobile phone operator MTN Group has pulled the plug on its local mobile money business, saying it was not viable in a country where around three quarters of the population already has a bank account.

 

Mobile money services that allow customers to transfer funds using their phones have proved hugely popular in some other parts of Africa, particularly where people have less access to traditional bank accounts.

MTN launched its South African service in 2012 after the success of Safaricom’s M-Pesa in east Africa convinced some executives the service was the industry’s next growth area. However MTN, Africa’s biggest wireless phone group, now joins Vodacom in abandoning the service in South Africa.