Exclusive: Mobilink Buys Waseela Bank to Offer Mobile Banking Services

WaseelaOrascom Telecom has reportedly bought a license for microfinance bank to start offering branchless mobile banking services in Pakistan under the brand name of Mobilink Waseela, we have confirmed with sources at Mobilink.

We know that Mobilink was eager to offer mobile banking services in Pakistan for long but after failed deal with RBS and then regulatory hurdles it took them longer than they had initially expected to launch the service.

Our sources tell us that Mobilink recently completed the buyout of a microfinance license with a price tag of Rs. 1 billion and company has already established a team responsible for financial services. They are now aggressively preparing and testing the service to be launched by year end or earlier.

From what we have heard it seems that Mobilink will start with money transfer services with branchless accounts to give Telenor EasyPaisa first real competition. However, down the line Mobilink plans to offer more sophisticated mobile banking services that may include saving accounts, merchant accounts, life insurances, virtual online wallets and so on.

With narrowing margins and tougher competition in telecom industry, telecom operators find it highly lucrative to offer financial services, especially in a country like Pakistan where less than 10 percent of population maintains bank accounts.

With humongous sales and support network, particularly stretched in rural and far flung areas of the country, telecom operators are best placed to offer branchless remittance and saving services to consumers with limited income.

Telenor first started a similar mobile banking services back in 2009 and now it claims to have carried out over Rs. 10 billion worth of transactions in less than 2 years.

Mobilink is likely to reap from EasyPaisa’s gigantic awareness campaigns for mobile banking that have made consumer understand mobile and branchless banking so well that Mobilink won’t have to start from the scratch.

However, Mobilink will need to innovate the service, with some extra features maybe, to incentivize the customer.

On a side note, do you you remember a Mobilink Waseela ad we leaked out back in April 2010? Yes this is same Mobilink Waseela and we may start seeing it’s TVCs again, very soon.

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Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

  • well easypaisa has already captured the market. the most imp thing is telenor is available in most of the rural areas where no other network exists and no banks n thats why it is known as a rural network as well. people earning in urban areas have the facility to transfer their incomes to their families in rural areas easily. i thing mobilink cant beat telenor.

    • That is useful for those poor rural mobilink people. What good is it in the HQ. Typical mobilink employee answer, it works okay here!

  • Mobilink is no less than 18 months away from launching anything that remotely resembles or is at par with Easypaisa…. I know of people who moved to Mobilink for mobile banking in particular but then moved out within 6 months due to the delays in their launch

  • I believe Waseela was already an investment of Orascom and they were waiting on the BB license approval from SBP.

  • yeah this new is true … i have also heared this from a Bank Manager that Mobilink has bought a bank for its branchless banking.


    SO THIS NEWS THAT “Orascom Telecom has reportedly bought Waseela Bank ” IS RUBBISH :)

    • Yes, I understand that Waseela Bank was administered by Oracap when it bought license – license is actually what we are calling a buyout

      • “license is actually what we are calling a buyout”

        my friend license is one thing and buyout is another. get your business vocabulary straight :p

  • We are really a nation which no opportunity lets gone in creating and breaking our own records. On the subject of modern i-tech once the late intellectual writer Irshad Ahmed Haqqani wrote that while the world today is providing services to their people sitting in home through i-tech but “we have distorted the shape of that too”. It can be seen that though huge has been spent on purchase of i-tech equipment and is being spent on highly paid webmasters/professionals 95% of the Government websites are showing months old information and in same cases years. Sindh ombudsman website even today the 08 August 2011 proudly displays in the Latest News Section ” “.

    I am living in Bahrain. For any problem here I just tell my mobile service provider company only my mobile number and the nature of problem when it starts looking into the fault to the solved in hours. In Karachi I have in my name a Mobilink SIM. I opted this company as at that time it was the only single player in the market and later got impression that it was the biggest mobile company in Pakistan. The SIM is with my 85 plus years sick father who since years uses it for twice thrice a day ringing me in Bahrain. He has no other international number to dial. For the last bout two months all of a sudden when my father wants to contact me the computerized auto response comes “this facility is not available to you”. Why this facility all of a sudden got deleted or facility withdrawn, no one answers. The family initially tried by contacting different Mobilink customer service officers.

    Finally I addressed the Mobilink in writing but no response. Lastly when I approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority the regulatory body, only then I got a response from Mobilink asking me to give them the “serial number printed on back of the SIM”. It was really a unique never heard before demand which was however complied. The much criticized PTCL even when it was un-computerized T&T on filing a complaint never asked me to give them the serial number scribbled beneath or the colour of the Set. After further two days of providing the said SIM serial number, a list of new demands came to provide viz; “the Message received by mobile customer” the answer to which from the very first day of the complaint was available with the Mobilink namely that on dialing the international number the subscriber gets an auto response that “the facility is not available to you”. The second demand was name of country which was provided as Bahrain (00973). Third demand was the duration of the complaint, information was provided. Next demand location of mobile customer was also provided as Karachi full address. The further next demand was ISD operator name which was beyond the knowledge of this common man as for me provider of telecommunication service to me is Mobilink similar as when I was a T&T subscriber whether a local call or NWD/ISD call the operator for me was T&T. Next was PTCL contact number. Why should this be needed while I am customer of Mobilink. However I provided my Bahrain telephone on which no one from the Mobilink till today has contacted me which inn other word simply means the company does not contact its customers even if it has any contact number.

    Further two days later the company demanded from this subscriber to cooperate with them by providing “message received while dialing the international number” and “operator name of the company where call is being made eg. Mobilink in Pakistan, Orange in UK etc”. Now the problem is I am not aware of who is the operator and what is his name. In simple words it means a Mobilink subscriber sitting in Karachi if finds at any time the facility not available for dialing his USA or Saudi based relative, then he should also ensure pre-preserving the name of operators in USA and Saudi Arabia including their contacts, names, mobile sets models of foreign based relatives which Mobilink in later stage may ask for.

    Many years back I purchased a fresh Calling Card from a shop here in Bahrain and used it from the PCO Booth installed outside the same shop. I dialed my Karachi residence when after just a minute talk the card’s balance came to zero while was a very big amount card. Next day I faxed to the Bahraini telecommunication company. On the fourth day I got a call from the company that I can collect a fresh new calling card free from the customer service centre in my area. I enquired from the officer calling me that as to how he found that I was telling truth and not cheat the company. His reply was that they found the Karachi phone number I dialed. The company found the same Karachi phone number was being dialed invariably daily both from booths as well as from a residential telephone number which was installed in my name. The company also found that the Karachi dialed number also stood in my same name as was a landline number installed in Bahrain. Calculating all this they found my statement true. They did not ask me to give road number or location of booth, name of shop from where I purchased Card, operator name in Karachi etc.

    I am a layman. I have no technical knowledge. But I can without any hesitation say it is some internal technical problem within the Mobilink Exchange needing a bit adjustment which does not in any case require to know the name of international operator, location or anything like. The problem is located within the internal Exchange nakedly evident from the fact that the computerized auto response that the facility is not available to him is in Urdu. Had the problem been at the Bahrain corresponding telecommunication company, the auto response to the subscriber, in this case my father in Karachi, would had been first in Arabic and then in English and in no case in Urdu.

    A senior economist about three months back in his column stated that the SBP, SECP and PTA were in fact the protectors of interests of businessmen/investors and not of the common man. This senior citizen fully subscribes to this belief. Four days back I arranged replacing a new SIM from another Company which restored my father’s link with me. However since my father is too old from the old generation the next day he again despite my resistance reverted back to Mobilink SIM on the ground that those calling him will not be able to contact him on his new number. Really only we in Pakistan can be the only ones who can not use the modern technology unless we have the number written on the SIM, operator name etc which in fact all are available on the company (in this case Mobilink) computer screen on a finger tip.

    As far as the role of regulatory body PTA is concerned it booked my complaint vide Reference CPD/250711/M/25370. While the last communication from the Mobilink was seeking further “cooperation” on points not necessary or logical which in other simple words mean that company was still to take any practical action for finding and removing the fault, the PTA has informed me that my problem has been resolved. It has however not at all surprised this senior citizen having often seen the attitude of PTA in the past more particularly seeing its website which today 8th August 2011 reads “updated Monday 18 October 2010”. Sitting in air conditioned office the PTA solved the problem thus adding one digit in its successful achievements and one day these collective digit achievements would be presented to higher up as recently presented the figures by FBR.

    • sir , my simple comments in this is to purchase a Telenor sim & then enjoy the benefits ,

      I live & work in Dubai , when ever I am in Pakistan I use the same Telenor sim & NEVER had any problems since I bought it about 2 years ago.

    • Mobilink cheated you, screwed up, failed to do the basic and they want to take people’s money into their own bank service. I don’t trust them!

    • Dear Mr. Javed you can retain your same number while enjoying services of any other company now. Transfer your number to Warid or Telenor via MNP.

  • who used to own Waseela bank earlier? is it a local bank or foreign bank? how Waseela bank has been ranked/ listed?

  • Anxiously waiting for the services that Waseela bank will offer, Easeypaisa no doubt is reliable name but we need some strong competitor so that both Telenor & Mobilink maintains there service levels.
    Good for the customers…

  • I believe mobilink (aka Orascom) has really delayed this thing. This could primarily be due to the SBP approval. However considering that Easypaisa and Omni are already on the ground and running if not God-speed, but at a pretty good pace, it would be a difficult ask for Waseela to come forward and deliver their part.

  • Waseela has acquired the SBP license to do micro finance only. They have to conduct some loan and branch banking business prior to acquiring BB license. But they will perhaps have it by June next year

    NEXT STEP: Online Pre-Paid Recharge Facility… This would be the best thing as we wont have to go to the bloody market everytime to buy a scratch card.


  • Ultimately. IT is dominating on human beings. and facilitating the clients. Goodluck , I have do work in tameer Microfincane bank, it will creat great opportunities to facilitate.

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