Mobile telecommunications equipment vendor Ericsson (News - Alert) signed a strategic partnership agreement with South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN Group (News - Alert) to launch m-wallet services in Africa and the Middle East.
The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress 2012 held in Barcelona, Spain.
“2012 will be the year of partnerships across the emerging m-commerce eco-system. MTN has long been an early adopter in mobile money, and this new partnership builds on our ongoing relationship of collaboration. Driving accelerated time to market for operators and linking wallet accounts to purchases across multiple payment systems is a clear next step in next generation mobile financial services,” said Hans Vestberg (News - Alert), president and chief executive officer of Ericsson, in a press release.
During the first week of February, Ericsson launched Ericsson Money Services, a new business line that offers mobile financial services. Through this business, the company aims to offer an easy way for mobile operators to offer their subscribers mobile wallets. This way the company is interconnecting mobile operators and the financial world to create a global m-commerce ecosystem.
The development of the Ericsson Converged Wallet follows a period of close co-operation between Ericsson and MTN Group, highlighting MTN's ongoing commitment to innovation – it was one of the first operators to deploy Ericsson's pre-paid solution back in 1998. Ericsson is the first technology enabler to integrate a charging system and mobile financial services solution.
As indicated, MTN will initially deploy the Ericsson Converged Wallet as a pilot in selected MTN operations during 2012, with a view to roll out the solution across all its operations in Africa and the Middle East.
The partnership between Ericsson and MTN supports the operators' strategy to secure a flexible, reliable and efficient solution in the area of mobile financial services. As part of the co-operation, Ericsson will offer a prime integrator engagement model encompassing software, systems integration and managed operation services.
“Optimizing the Mobile Money consumer experience directly impacts consumer stickiness, and with Ericsson Converged Wallet we can now address our strategic priorities by enabling rapid response to our consumer's preferences and expectations,” said Christian de Faria, chief commercial officer at MTN Group.
The MTN Group has been operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Currently, it has more than 5 million Mobile Money subscribers. With this agreement, MTN will become the first operator to deploy Ericsson Converged Wallet platform, a new complementary service to the integrated pre-paid charging system and mobile financial services solution for MTN consumers in those regions.
Edited by Jennifer Russell