State-owned telco BSNL has tied up with digital payments company MobiKwik to launch ‘BSNL Wallet’ a semi-closed mobile wallet exclusively for BSNL users in India. The company did not provide a timeline for the app launch but added that “the wallet will be developed, operated and issued by MobiKwik and distributed and marketed by BSNL,” MobiKwik said in a statement. The wallet can also be used as digital touch points for buying BSNL SIM cards online. MobiKwik will also sell BSNL SIMs to its users via 8000 ‘Feet on Street’ professionals and 250,000 offline retailers across India.
Note that this isn’t the first time that BSNL has partnered with a payments company. In July 2015, BSNL tied up with Pyro, a telecom company, Andhra Bank and Visa to announce SpeedPay, a semi-closed open prepaid instrument. BSNL also partnered with State Bank of India (SBI) in May last year for an online wallet app named State Bank MobiCash. In both tie-ups, BSNL users were able to withdraw and load money from their Speedpay/Mobicah mobile wallets via offline BSNL retail outlets, and pay for BSNL services.
In the above examples, BSNL had to partner with financial companies—SBI, Andhra Bank, Visa—for providing online payments to its users since BSNL cannot provide its own wallet/payment service due to RBI regulations. With the MobiKwik tie up, BSNL is circumventing the need to have a prepaid payments instruments license from the RBI to run a mobile wallet and directly connect to customers with a branded wallet app in its name (BSNL Wallet).
Previous MobiKwik tie ups
MobiKwik, which received a wallet license from RBI in 2013, has partnerships with multiple private and government firms. This is can be of advantage to MowbiKwik in two ways: i) Expanding its payment platform to new services, ii) Acquire new users belonging to partner companies. MobiKwik has tie ups with brands like Amul, for cashless payments across Amul’s 7000 outlets; a tie up Jugnoo for letting users pay for rides with the MobiKwik wallet. It also has partnerships with government organizations like IRCTC for tatkal payments and with National Highways for paying tolls via MobiKwik.
Image Credits: MobiKwik Blog