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Idea Cellular Awaiting Mobile Wallet License

Idea Cellular has applied for a semi-closed prepaid payments license (essentially a Mobile wallet license), which will allow the company to offer mobile payment services, the company's MD Himanshu Kampania said on its earnings conference call. A semi closed prepaid payment license allows a business to create stored-value cards (physical or digital), which can be used to purchase products from multiple vendors. However, it doesn't allow withdrawal of money once added, for which telecom operators need a banking partner. On its part, Idea Cellular 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. At present, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are only telecom operators with a prepaid payments license in India. Airtel Money*, run by Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd, is live in 27 states in India. 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. Kampania did not mention how long it has been since Idea applied for the license, but pointed towards opportunities in machine-to-machine (M2M) services, Mobile Banking and mobile money tranfer as growth areas for the company. "There is potential for new applications, and there are a lot of growth opportunities in newer applications like M2M services, mobile banking, money transfer and the company is geared. We have already announced that we have formed a separate company for mobile commerce, and there is a team which…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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