Telecommunications giant, MTN has partnered up with Intelligra, an open platform for smartphone financing to provide the buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan for mobile phones to Nigerians. These phones would be sold on credit with a payment plan between 6-12 months exclusively for MTN users in Nigeria.
Why it matters:
The telecom partnership plan between MTN and Intelligra will see many Nigerians gaining access to mobile phones, despite the challenges of the high cost of the Internet, and low funding for the purchase, as well as the subscription and maintenance of modern internet-enabled phones.
According to MTN, the reason behind this was to connect more Nigerians to the internet and to create a medium where people are not restricted from achieving their dreams as a result of internet access and availability. This goes beyond making a profit for the telecom agency and will benefit the average Nigerian after the window period of buying and paying for these phones.
Other major players in this partnership include SLOT, a nationwide mobile phone merchant, Stanbic IBTC, a major financier, microfinance bank VFD, and some other retail partners.
While the financers would provide the funding for the mass rollout of the BNPL phones, fulfilment partners like SLOT would be responsible for last-mile delivery for users across the country.
Speaking on the partnership with Intelligra, Adia So who is Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “The partnership with Intelligra will drive financial inclusion, digital financing devices, and make them accessible to the average man. It would also grant customers access to the internet, entertainment, and education while allowing users to communicate easily.”
Tayo Ogundipe, CEO and founder of Intelligent Solutions Ltd, expressed confidence in the ability of the partnership to unlock rapid digital inclusion and economic opportunities for Nigerians.
“This partnership with MTN, the foremost telecom provider in Africa and collaborations with financing institutions including StanbicIBTC, VFD MFB, Personal Trust MFB, Credit Direct Ltd. and others, will help proffer a solution to the low smartphone penetration for Africans and increase digital and financial inclusion.
“The ecosystem also comprises key partners who will offer MTN users across the country a unique, convenient, simple, and flexible variant of BNPL with their choice of premium, quality brands, including Samsung, Nokia, Tecno, Infinix, and iTel models,” he said.
How to get the phones:
The conditions for getting the mobile phones according to Intelligra include the provision of a BVN number, which is in line with the regulatory practices and does not assess creditworthiness. This means customers are assessed for credit based on their prior behaviour—such as airtime recharge pattern—on the MTN network.
Also, customers who intend to purchase the BNPL phones must be users of the MTN network. This would grant the company access to remotely disable the phones following a default in the loan payment. Customers are entitled to a one-time screen replacement or a phone replacement in the event of theft with proof.
MTN and its partners have stated that it is not just offering regular buy-now-pay-later phones; as these phones would be coming with embedded voice and data plans, which can be optimised as wealth-creation tools in the hands of their users.