Indian giants bank on mobile money

Melissa Chua
07 Jun 2011
Daily News

Two major Indian operators have announced plans to pursue mobile banking initiatives.

Bharti Airtel this week signed an MOU with pan-African banking group Ecobank for the promotion of mobile banking services across Africa.

The MOU involves having the two firms collaborate to explore and develop mobile financial services in 14 African countries in which they jointly operate.

Both companies will launch a range of mobile banking services that cover the P2P and B2B space under the brand names ‘Ecobank Mobile’ and ‘Airtel Money’.

Bharti already operates a mobile banking service named Airtel Money in its native country.

Ecobank operates in 30 African countries while Bharti has presence in 16 African countries after its $10.7 billion purchase of Kuwait-based Zain’s African operations last year. The Indian operator had last month announced its intention to invest a further $1 billion into its African business, despite having its African arm drag at profit.

Bharti’s Indian rival BSNL also entered a JV with Indian Post last week to launch a mobile money transfer service.

According to the Financial Express, the service will involve having money senders make a trip to the post office, where postal workers will be equipped with mobile phones containing a custom application to facilitate the transfer. The service will be complemented by transaction codes and identity verification for security purposes. Recipients can receive money within 10 minutes from another post office branch.

The BSNL-India Post service will be available for 8 weeks in Punjab and Bihar in India and is scheduled for India-wide access within two years.

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