The Singtel Group has revealed plans to become the first operator to interconnect telco mobile wallets to support seamless cross-border mobile payments.
Singtel said more than 1.5 million visitors travel between Singapore and Thailand each year. Singtel and AIS customers will be able to use their respective payment apps at more than 20,000 merchant acceptance points across the two markets.
In the second half of the year the service will be progressively expanded to other regional associates, with the company specifically naming India's Bharti Airtel, the Philippines' Globe and Indonesia's Telkomsel. But Singtel noted that the company will need to take into account the various countries' regulations.
The initiative is aimed at allowing Singtel and its associates' 590 million combined mobile customers to pay with their mobile wallets while traveling in Asia.
Singtel also plans to allow other mobile payment apps to plug into the platform in the future to gain ready access to the group's merchant and customer bases.
“The mobile payments scene in Asia today is fragmented with many different systems and this poses a challenge to the adoption of mobile payments. As a Group, we believe we can bring about change through our cross-border interoperable platform and collaboration with like-minded partners,” Singtel CEO international Arthur Lang said.
“Our vision is to unlock the growth potential of mobile payments in the region by providing customers with a convenient, seamless experience, and helping small merchants widen their reach to millions of consumers."