(By Preethi J & Nikhil Pahwa)

MChek has tied up with Tata Teleservices to offer payment of mobile bills via SMS to Indicom subscribers. This is the second operator bagged by mChek, following Airtel, for mobile bill payments.

Tata Indicom already has tie ups with Obopay and  Paymate for top ups, so why the need for a third m-commerce firm?  The ecosystem is quickly building up with banks like SBI, HDFC and Yes Bank tying up with m-commerce firms like Obopay and Paymate and cellular operators such as Tata Indicom and Airtel.

One of the issues we find when covering this space, is that while mobile payment companies do mention the banks and telecom operators they have partnered with, the extent of the partnership is often not explicitly known. Think about how that then works out in the consumer context. How will the consumer choose?

MChek does mention that this deal is specifically around top-ups and bill payments – which appears to the low hanging fruit in the mobile payments industry. The issue comes when you have to take consumers beyond just bill payments to other services. There’s a long way to go before this ecosystem evolves from being one focused on bill payment, to shopping, and replacing the credit card.

With the mChek service, users will have to sign up by sending an SMS to 59909 or by visiting mChek’s website. The payment uses a 6-digit PIN number created by the user on the mobile during the procedure. An SMS receipt is sent to the phone on completion of the transaction, the release said.

Related:  List of Mobile Payment Partnerships