Wednesday, February 17, 2010

India First: Nokia launches mobile money transfer platform

Nokia, the global leader in the mobile handest industry, on Monday announced the launch of the worlds first money transfer platform through mobile device in India, one of the fastest-growing handset market. Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President - Services, told a press conference that the pilot project was launched in Pune last week in partnership with Yes Bank and Obopay, which runs mobile payments platform. He, however, did not divulge the time of the commercial launch of the project. Nearly 30 handset-makers are battling it out in Indias telecom handset market. Brands like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Blackberry dominate 85-90 % of the Rs. 20,000-crore market. Nokia leads with a 57% share while Samsung is the distant second with an 8% share and LG third with 5% share.

Christened as Mobile Money, the service will enable a customer to transfer money to other individuals, pay utility bills as well as recharge prepaid SIM cards by using their mobile devices. The service will also be available on non-Nokia handsets. Consumers will also be able to pay merchants for goods and services through their mobile devices. This is a first-of-its-kind service providing customers the ability to initiate mobile payments through multiple channels such as SMS, IVR, WAP, JAVA and FIRE.

Nokia India Vice President & Managing Director, D Shivakumar told ET the service will create a financial ecosystem which is inclusive, sustainable and scaleable. The service will compete with cash and not with plastic money, he said, adding that it will grow the size e-transfer of money in India. He said the potential of the service is enormous as the country has lesser bank accounts than mobile phone users. India has nearly 500 million mobile phone users and 200 million bank account holders. Suresh Sethi, Group President of transaction banking group, Yes Bank said the service will enable educational and government payments to create an ecosystem for financial inclusion. This service eliminates the dependence on the physical presence of a branch or availability of internet banking services and will successfully ride on the deeper penetration of mobile services in India.

Source: The Economic Times, February 17, 2010 (Reported by Kausik Datta)

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