Is it selling to concentrate on the domestic league with Google Cloud?
On conclusion of the sale, Yoma Strategic will become the controlling shareholder of Wave Money, a provider of money transfer and digital payments in Myanmar. The agreement between Yoma Strategic and Telenor Group completes a divestment process that was announced in June 2020. Though the transaction is subject to regulatory approval from the Myanmar Central Bank, that is thought to be a formality.
Massive wave of digital money
The company was a joint venture in 2016 after fintech pioneer Yoma was granted a license under Myanmar’s new Mobile Financial Services Regulation. By 2020 Wave Money was processing $8.7 billion a year in remittance and payments, roughly 12 percent of Myanmar’s GDP. The company runs a network of more than 45,000 active agents AKA Wave Shops in urban and rural areas in 295 of the 330 townships nationwide. The business has seen a significant recovery in volumes since June 2021 with the trend expected to continue.
Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic, said the digitisation of the Myanmar economy, in particular in financial services, has been remarkable for Myanmar. “We are pleased that Wave Money has positively transformed the way of life of people in Myanmar, bringing financial inclusion to the masses,” said Pun.
Why is Telenor waving goodbye to money?
Wave Money played a critical role in Myanmar’s financial service industry and te money supply after ordinary banking services were disrupted following the military’s seizure of power on Feb. 1, 2021, according to AP News.
Telenor has been seeking to withdraw from Myanmar since then, but it has so far not finalized a planned sale of its mobile phone networks, announced in July 2021, to the M1 Group, a Lebanese-based investment firm.
Telenor wrote off the value of its Myanmar business after the military takeover ignited a public backlash and the authorities imposed limits on mobile and internet access, says AP News.
Telenor is proud of its work in Myanmar
“Telenor is proud to have been part of Wave Money’s journey to empower the people of Myanmar with access to financial services,” said Lars Erik Tellmann, head of Telenor Group’s financial services, “we are confident that Yoma [can] take Wave Money to the next level financial inclusion.”
In Asia Telenor is in the middle of major consolidation, according to analyst John Strand, founder of Strand Consult, who said that few policy makers understand consolidation and its benefits.
Telenor to concentrate on reshaping
Meanwhile Telenor has to build an infrastructure for 5G. The telco is moving its IT systems to Google Cloud, using the hyperscaler’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to get insights from its data, and developing new solutions, cloud specialist Danielle Royston, CEO of TelcoDR, told Mobile Europe in December. “I presume Telenor will be making the most of Google Cloud talent to deliver on this last point. It’ll be interesting to see how Telenor’s cloud transformation unfolds and how quickly.”