airtel-moneyTotal value of transactions that was made through Airtel’s semi-closed mobile wallet service in India has grown to Rs 654 crore a quarter, from Rs 69 crore in same quarter last year. Note that this is the amount transacted during the quarter ended 30th September 2013. The subscriber base increased 168.5% year on year to 1.4 million subscribers in Q2-FY14, with a total of 23.7 million transactions being executed. The average value per transaction was Rs 276, which is significantly higher than the voice ARPU of Rs 160.35. Airtel Money is currently live in 27 states in India.

Airtel Money In Africa

Airtel is likely to be encouraged by the performance of Airtel Money in Africa, where the average value per transaction was $ 19.63 (approximately Rs 1200).  During the quarter, the total value of transactions made using this platform in Africa was $867 million as compared to $448 million in the same quarter last year – an increase of 93.6%. Airtel’s m-commerce offering is now present across all 17 countries it operates in Africa.

The total customer base using the Airtel Money platform there increased by 35.4% to 1.8 million from 1.3 million on a sequential quarter basis. The total number of transactions jumped by 70.2% on a sequential quarter basis to 44.2 million in the current quarter as compared to 26.0 million in the previous quarter.

The Value In Mobile Payments

On its earnings conference call, Manoj Kohli, CEO and Joint MD at Airtel, said that the mobile payments business in important for the company “in terms of convenience, stickiness, especially for the 99% unbanked customer base in Africa. Customers are using it for money transfer, for utility payments and Airtel topups, which help us save sales and distribution commission.”

Other Telcos In Mobile Payments

Vodafone has a license through its subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd, and has partnered with ICICI Bank for M-Pesa, and is slowly being rolled out. Vodafone India had also announced plans to launch a platform that would allow service providers and application developers to integrate with Vodafone’s payment mechanism, opening up its billing API, but given the delay, we’re not sure if that will ever see the light of day.

Other operators are also getting into the field: Idea is waiting for mobile wallet license, and already has a partnership with Axis Bank (as does Airtel) for mobile money transfer services, so if and when it does get the license, a bank partnership would already be in place.

Also Read:

– Encrypted SMS? What RBI Gov Raghuram Rajan Should Really Do About Mobile Payments
– Why Cash is still King in India