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Turkcell heading to US to show off mobile wallet service

23 октября 2012

Turkcell representatives will head to the U.S. this week to showcase the telco's recently-launched mobile wallet to operators and financial institutions there, with a view to establishing the company as the benchmark for m-payment services.

The Turkey-based operator earlier in October launched Turkcell Wallet, a SIM-based mobile wallet that is compatible with both smartphones and feature phones, and enables users to carry out a raft of different transactions by entering their phone number. Customers can transfer money, top up their prepay balance, or pay for products on participating Websites by typing in their phone number, which subsequently activates a dialogue box on their handset that requests they key in the PIN number attached to their cash card.

"You don't have to memorise a separate password, or enter any card details," said Cenk Bayrakdar, chief new technology business officer at Turkcell.

He explained to Total Telecom that the service is compatible with any type of device, provided it has a SIM card. High-end smartphone owners can download a Turkcell Wallet app, and can even make contactless payments if their phone is NFC-enabled, while feature phone users receive an over-the-air update from Turkcell that embeds the mobile wallet into their handset's SIM menu.

In addition, customers can choose to treat Turkcell Wallet as a standalone prepaid cash card or they can link it to their debit or credit card; 14 banks have signed up to the service and payments are processed securely by MasterCard.

"It's the only solution where you use your own PIN number, that works with any phone, that works with multiple banks," said Bayrakdar, who added that 25,000 Turkcell customers have signed up to the service since it was announced on 4 October, even though it has yet to start advertising it on TV.

By the end of November, Turkcell Wallet users will also be able to use the service to pay utility bills. And in 2013, Turkcell plans to introduce point-of-sale terminals that enable customers to pay for goods with their phone numbers at brick and mortar stores.

Crucially, Turkcell has applied for four patents related to Turkcell Wallet, and it is this intellectual property that it is seeking to license to other operators around the world.

"There is demand from Eastern Europe – ex-Soviet republics – and the MENA region," said Bayrakdar. "We also want to initiate talks with the U.S. and Canadian operators – that's where the innovation comes from."

With that in mind, Bayrakdar is paying the U.S. a visit, travelling to the east coast on Wednesday before heading westwards towards Silicon Valley.

However, it is wrong to suggest patent royalties are the only source of income that Turkcell derives from Turkcell Wallet. Fees are included with certain transactions, which are divided between the operator and its bank partners.

"My job is to bring in revenue from adjacent industries," said Bayrakdar. "Of course [customer] loyalty is important, but if I'm not bringing in the bucks as well then the service is not a success."

Источник: Total Telecom

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