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Last Updated:[24-02-2010 03:48:04 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Migrant Workers Fuel e-Wallet Growth in the Gulf

tradenews The current mobile phone finance players and aspiring entrants are vying among one another to extract a higher share of the future market of mobile payments, the latest mode of payment among migrant workers, by joining forces with current mobile telephony providers of the Asian and African region. Several mobile payment firms are reported to be in touch with various mobile phone service providers in the Middle East and its migrant worker nations in a bid to expand or introduce the new value added service (VAS).

According to Emirates Business24/7, the companies such as Gemalto, Fundamo, mBlox and the Western Union are keen on tying up with the mobile service providers to cash in on the new market. The primary focus of these companies would be to extend services along with the GCC member states to countries including India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria, and some countries in Africa and Latin America.

Gemalto, one of the largest in the mobile payments solutions segment, is already working with du and etisalat. Pascal Oromi, VP for mobile financial services at Gemalto said currently, one third of Gemalto's revenue came from the Middle East, and was expected to grow significantly in 2010.

Likewise, Fundamo, another player in this space who was unsuccessful at previous occasions for tenders in the UAE is understood to be positive on another shy. Richard Bailey, Product Manager at Fundamo pointed out that mobile money provided a ready access to migrants who still did not have access to traditional banking services by offering banks an opportunity to reach out to the unbanked.

As per latest reports, the Western Union has roped in Comviva Technologies, one of India’s largest providers of VAS to mobile operators to its Mobile Vendor Program for servicing mobile finance initiatives across the globe. Khalid Fellahi, Senior VP, Mobile Transaction Services of the Western Union, informed the technology had been a success in Kenya and Philippines, and an announcement on its mobile wallet plans in the Middle East was awaited soon.

Whereas, Andrew Bud, Executive Chairman at Sweden based mBlox said the high mobile penetration and also lack of banking infrastructure in some areas make it a top area for mBlox. The company plans to operate from Mumbai in India to cater the needs of the Middle East.

By Jose Roy

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