UAE telecom operator launches remittance facility to India

April 1st, 2008 - 6:41 pm ICT by admin  

Dubai, April 1 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading telecom services provider Etisalat Tuesday launched a pilot service for money remittance to India. Etisalat will work with Mashreqbank, Tata Communications (formerly VSNL), Idea Cellular and HSBC India to roll out this new service following completion of the pilot phase, the company said in a statement here.

“This joint launch with Tata Communications and Idea Cellular is just the start of a comprehensive initiative to broaden the scope of Etisalat’s mobile commerce initiatives,” Etisalat’s chief marketing officer Essa Al Haddad said in the statement.

The service will be commercially available to the public by June 2008.

“We believe the convenience of this service, its ease of use and lower transaction costs will constitute a great attraction for the large Indian expatriate population here in the country,” Al Haddad said.

There are around 1.4 million Indians in the UAE and 5.5 million in all Gulf nations. Their remittances contribute significantly to the Indian economy.

According to a recent World Bank report, India led the global list of remittance recipients, receiving $27 billion of the total remitted amount of $318 billion in 2007.

Al Haddad said that Etisalat sought to work closely with its partners in India to “revolutionize the process of money remittance here in the UAE which will become the first country in the region to offer such a service”.

“In the current pilot phase, selected participants of the pilot (service) will be able to transfer funds to over 40,000 bank branches in India,” said Abdulla Hashim, vice-president for marketing and enterprise solutions at Etisalat.

“This will be enhanced to offer cash through authorized agents to the beneficiary once the regulatory framework is available. As an additional security feature, the sender will also be able to track the transaction until the money reaches the recipient.”

Vinod Kumar, president of Tata Communications’ global data and mobility services, said: “This service is only the beginning of Tata Communications’ plans to create a global hub for interoperability of all mobile commerce transactions.”

Stating that mobile commerce was the next big wave in the global telecom marketplace, Idea Cellular chief marketing officer Pradeep Srivastava said, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Tata Communications and Etisalat to bring cross-border remittance to our subscribers, specifically in the India- UAE corridor, as soon as regulatory approvals are in place.”

‘Money Transfer Over the Mobile Phone’ is a part of Etisalat’s larger mobile commerce strategy, which has already seen the introduction of m-Commerce solutions such as MobilePay and AutoPay for customers, to pay Etisalat bills or recharge and renew Etisalat prepaid services.

The company currently offers several mobile solutions for paying government fees, charity payments and for banking purposes.

According to the statement, Etisalat will shortly offer parking, ticketing and paying of government fees through their mobile phone.

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