Dialog - Etisalat mobile money platform could cover 60% of local population

Historic tie-up between competing mobile operators


- Pic by Kanishka Hewage

By Sanath Nanayakkare

Etisalat joined Dialog’s eZ Cash mobile money platform on Monday, enabling a combined subscriber base of 12.7 million —over 60% of the country’s population— to enjoy ‘seamless and convenient mobile money services’ that lets them deposit, send or receive money and pay utility bills, insurance premia and engage in other transactions.

Dialog’s eZ Cash had handled Rs. 6 billion worth transactions last year and is averaging Rs. 700 million per month. The groundbreaking tie-up brings a potential combined subscriber base of 12.7 million or 60% of the country’s population under one e-commerce umbrella, a move supported and hailed by the Central Bank and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL).

"Globally we haven’t seen such a cooperation to date as everyone competes. Dialog and Etisalat have set an example to the world by putting competition secondary and fostering financial inclusion as primary. This is lacking on a global scale," the industry’s international group GSM Association’s Mobile Money Expert Gerald Rasugu said at the event held at the Taj Samudra on Monday.

"The world will be looking at this new path taken by Sri Lanka’s Dialog and Etisalat and replicate it in their home markets," said Rasugu, who hailed the Central Bank’s progressive move in fostering financial inclusion by lifting barriers.

Dialog Axiata Group CEO and Director Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya explaining the joint initiative said, "This is a great achievement in the interest of customers and the economy. In effect, nearly 13 million Sri Lankans can now transact electronically".

He thanked Etisalat for having confidence in the eZ Cash platform launched in 2012 by Dialog for which over $ 3 million has been invested to date.

"At no extra cost to subscribers all mobile operators are invited to join the pioneering mobile money platform which has been approved under the Central Bank payments and settlements system, "he said.

The only two other mobile operators relevant in this regard are Airtel and Hutch, as Mobitel has launched its version – mCash.

Dr. Wijayasuriya also hailed the Central Bank and Telecommunications Regulatory Commission for espousing mobile commerce via a progressive policy environment which is world class. He also commended the pioneering spirit of HNB, the custodian bank, and Deutsche Bank which is the trustee bank, as well as KPMG which profiles customers for eZ Cash.

With around 1.3 million subscribers the mobile money platform in 2013 had handled Rs. 6 billion worth transactions and this year it has swelled to Rs. 700 million per month. It covers over 16,000 merchants and 2,000 partners.

Etisalat Lanka’s Acting CEO Wail Salman said, more than the cost, saving in time and the overall benefits to its customers were the main reasons for joining the eZ Cash system.

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