According to recent industry reports, banking group FNB is in the process of expanding its fibre network to serve as a back-haul for telecoms services.
While it has not yet been made clear how the fibre will serve the bank, or what services it may be utilised for, sources have said that it is an important part of the bank’s telecoms services plans.
FNB already has a number of VoIP services running off their extensive branch-to-branch fibre back-haul. This includes functionality within their banking app which connects clients to FNB call centres free of charge, as well as the FNB Connect service, which allows clients to use the app to make free calls, and send free messages, to other app users.
There have been rumours since 2013 that FNB is looking to become a player in the South African Telco space. The bank already has the necessary licences to be a telecommunications provider and does provide voice and data services. It is also one of South Africa’s largest bulk SMS users and airtime distributors.
FNB has also approached the telecoms market in another capacity, by offering their customers a variety of smart devices, both tablets and cell phones, on monthly payment plans. To date they have sold over 250 000 of these devices, to the value of R1 billion.
“Digital banking is no longer something that we can refer to as the ‘future of banking’. With over 1 million active devices transacting on FNB’s Banking app alone, it is clear that this is the banking of now. However, we understand that in order for our customers to bank digitally they need access to the devices that enable this, which is what our smart device offer provides,” says Kartik Mistry, head of FNB Smart Devices, in a press statement.
The latest extension of this offering is a partnership with music label Universal Music which gives customers a way to legally download music via the newly-launched FNB Golden Circle website.