Mobile Banks – Next in Line Industry

Mobile banking is going to be next recipe for cellular competition in Pakistani Telecom Market. The blend of cellular and Banking industries make it ripe (financially) by nature; its implications and usage for a common person take this integration of industries to the next level.

We have been hearing plenty of value added services, from celcos that have “mobile banking” word as a name in them, for quite some time now, but guys – the real mobile banking is yet to happen, very soon.

This is going to be a big boost for banking sector, and here is the reason – number of heads attached with mobile phones, make telecom industry as the largest in the country, meaning that any product that is exposed to telecom sector will get huge reception (given that it has benefits and ease of use).

For instance, if you are given a liberty of paying your utility bills, credit card bills, and if you are allowed to make financial transactions, pay taxes  – and all that from your cell phone, what else do you need from a bank?

We have seen banks of this country shifting their focus towards online banking, which actually helped them get more transactions and customers. These banks lack in infrastructure to take these banking facilities to mobile phones. And here was the opportunity that is now going to be served by cellular companies.

I am wondering why Warid Telecom made this strategic mistake of not involving its sister concern, Bank Al Falah in pioneering banking solutions on mobile phones. Their lack in focus gave chance to Telenor and Mobilink to come forward and start mobile banking services.

We are told by reliable sources that Telenor is launching Mobile Banking very soon, in fact latter this month or at most in August. No words on features, but as per sources that are familiar with architect of this product, told us that “Telenor will enable a common person to open and operate a bank account from his/her mobile phone”. Moreover, he translated his information in a short line and said “Telenor Pakistan is going to launch world’s first Bank that will exist on mobile phones”. So let the time come and we will see the bigness of the idea behind Telenor’s Mobilink banking solutions.

Telenor’s entry in Mobile banking was well planned – and one could sense this happening when they acquired 51 percent shares in Tameer Bank in November last year. Latter on, Jon Eddy Abdullah, CEO Telenor Pakistan’s speech at M-Commerce Conference in March 2009 revealed their intentions and interest for mobile banking.

Same is the case with Mobilink that is coping well with their business settlement with Pakistan Post and Citi Bank. We also know that they are in line of buyers for Royale Bank of Scotland (RBS) operations in Pakistan.

We should not expect a revolutionary product from cellular companies straight away – but I do see mobile banking getting very mature in near future. We will have to the hurdles that will come in play regarding the execution of mobile banking regulations (draft paper for Mobile Banking was issued in 2007 – latter came the guidelines for Mobile Banking and Branch-Less Banking). Moreover, one can’t foresee and estimate the adoption level of any product before its launch. But it is proven and well accepted universal rule that, if the product is useful, it is going to be a big hit.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • The market in pakistan is all set and major players are ready to jump in to get a piece of the pie.
    One thing to note is to differentiate between these
    – Additive banking
    – Transformational banking
    – Mobile Commerce ….

    you can easily spot from the recent posts on the readiness and intentions of each consortiums.

    I’m sure those who have not come out with their plans are working on something major ….

  • Rehan

    “Telenor Pakistan is going to launch WORLD’S first Bank that will exist on mobile phones”


    • MT

      This is great!!!!
      What features it will have?

    • Dear Rehan,

      There are several such initiatives in the world. we are all learning from experiences in Kenya, Phillipines, Korea and other countries.

      Pakistan has a huge unbanked community and will take several players to realize its potential.

      The SBP published regulatory framework places alot of constraints on how the float can be used. The african story cannot be repeated in Pakistan. and banks will have to play a leading role ….

      stay tuned for more …..

  • zeus

    i doubt th8 its the first… ive seen airtel’s offering same kind of stuff

  • Zara Zahid

    “Telenor Pakistan is going to launch WORLD’S first Bank that will exist on mobile phones”
    could be right, i don’t know of any bank in the world that ‘exists’ on mobile phones…

  • The operator that provides the most reliable service (money transactions, payments.. ) would be the king here. The moment any tele-bank messes with the customer money, they will loose the trust as well as the Customer for good!

    So any solution that is deployed needs tobe tried and tested and under stringent checks.

    Wonder if there are any mobile banking standards around…apart from SBP frameworks which are more of guideline.