UAE-based Etisalat, Smart seal mobile commerce partnership
[September 11, 2007/ Manila] - United Arab Emirates' leading telecommunications operator, Etisalat and the Philippines’ leading wireless services provider, Smart Communications Inc. (SMART) have agreed to jointly develop and launch an international money transfer service using mobile phones.
The partnership was sealed at the GITEX Technology Week, an international technology trade exhibition held in Dubai. The MoU was signed by Essa Al Haddad, Chief Marketing Officer of Etisalat and Jojo M. Malolos, Smart Head of International Business, SMARTHub Financial Services Group.
Smart, which has been actively promoting mobile commerce in the Philippines since 2000, will be the technology enabler of the Etisalat service. Etisalat will utilize Smart’s mobile commerce platform, the Smart Services Hub, a global financial and telecommunications services model based the Smart Money electronic financial services platform. Smart Money is an electronic wallet card linked to a mobile phone.
Through this platform, telcos and banks can offer mobile phone-based remittances that enable beneficiaries to send funds back home anytime, anywhere. As an additional security feature, senders will be able to track transactions until the funds reach the designated recipients.
The remittance service will be initially offered in the UAE and will later be rolled out to other Etisalat service areas such as Egypt , Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and to Etisalat’s West African Subsidiaries under the Atlantique Group.
The partnership is in line with Smart’s efforts to promote m-commerce services and mobile phone-based remittances. Smart’s m-commerce systems are available to international mobile operators, and international and domestic banks, enabling them to provide a broader range of secure data and transactional services.
For Estilat, the “Money Transfer Over Mobile” service is part of its broader mobile commerce strategy, which involves the introduction of various mobile payment solutions.
Essa Al Haddad, Chief Marketing Officer of Etisalat said, “Migrant remittance is an important source of income for many countries around the world. As the leading operator of the UAE, a nation that plays host to nearly 200 different nationalities, we are confident that the service will revolutionize the entire remittance process for expatriates, as they send money to their home countries. Our partnership with Smart will enable us to bank on the wealth of experience they bring, and will once again make UAE the first nation in the region to launch this service.”
“We value this opportunity to work with Etisalat. This partnership marks yet another milestone for the Smart vision of providing remittance and other relevant financial services for people around the world,” said Jojo M. Malolos, Head of Smart’s International Business, SMARTHub Financial Services Group.
Danilo J. Mojica, Head of Smart Wireless Consumer Division added, “Through our mobile commerce platform, Etisalat will be able to offer SIM-based services that allow mobile phone users to send money to their beneficiaries via a few simple clicks on their handsets. The service will be affordable, convenient and safe. It will also give mobile phone users greater power—the power of choice to remit money, whenever they wish, wherever they are, and in whatever amounts.”
Etisalat is the leading telecommunications service provider in the UAE and offers both fixed and mobile phone services. Its mobile subscribers exceeded 4.5 million by the end of 2005, and represents a penetration rate of nearly 100 per cent. Etisalat offers advanced mobile services including 3G, MMS, Push To Talk, BlackBerry services and others.
It has also been deploying Next Generation Network facilities to offer its fixed line services. Internet and broadband penetration has grown rapidly, with penetration at almost 51% as of end-2005.
Smart Communications, Inc. is the Philippines' leading wireless services provider with 27.1 million subscribers on its GSM network as of June 2007. Smart has introduced world-first wireless data services, including mobile commerce services such as Smart Money, Smart Load and Smart Padala.
A subsidiary, Smart Broadband, Inc., offers a wireless broadband service, Smart Bro. Smart is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippines' leading telecommunications carrier, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. @