Mobile banking solution to spark economy in the Solomon Islands

With only a limited amount of branch offices and ATMs, where the Solomon Islanders can get access to their bank accounts, the flow of currency among the 992 islands is scarce. But with a new mobile banking solution provided by Solomon Telekom, and backed by the Danish network solution vendor Netfors, more than 100.000 Solomon Islanders will soon be able to access banking services via their mobile phones.

“We expect that 20% of the population will stand to gain from this solution. It may not seem like a high percentage, but compared to the conditions today, where only a limited amount of people have access to the few remaining branch offices and ATMs, this solution will have a severe effect on the economy,” predicts Keir Preedy, chief technical officer at Solomon Telekom.

However, setting up a mobile banking system in an SIDS (Small Island Developing State) requires a unique setup and not least the right expertise.

“We needed a USSD Gateway to be the backbone of our USSD Services, and our Australian system integrator recommended a company in Denmark called Netfors. So we sent them an email,” says Keir Preedy about the swift decision.

Back in Denmark, the team at Netfors got an unusual start to the day.

“We must admit that we were a bit numb struck when the order arrived in our inbox – especially because they were asking for onsite installation and training. But fortunately, we always like a good challenge, so we immediately prepared the servers, installed the software and shipped it all – including ourselves – to the Solomon Islands,” says Anders Baekgaard, CEO of Netfors.

It may seem like an unusual choice to go with a small network solution vendor in Denmark, but to Keir Preedy, the decision was not all that difficult:

”Choosing a small company in Denmark might not seem like the obvious choice, when you are placed almost 9000 miles apart. But the people at Netfors had the expertise we were looking for, and not least the dedication and commitment necessary to make this project a success.”

Using the solution provided by Solomon Telekom and Netfors, ANZ launched their service “GoMoney” on the 16th of September, and BSP and Westpac will follow suit with similar services by the end of September.

Future projects from Solomon Telekom include a top-­‐up service for electricity, in which the Solomon Islanders can pay for their electricity via their mobile phones. Today, all electricity is prepaid, and there are only 3-­‐4 locations, in which people can top-­‐up in person.