Nokia aims for pan India coverage

Mumbai: Handset maker Nokia is looking for a pan India coverage for its Nokia Money, the mobile payment services enabling consumers to pay directly from their Nokia mobile phones in India, a top official said.

"We are now planning for a pan India coverage for our Nokia Money this year," Nokia Mobile Financial Services Director, Gerhard Romen told PTI.

The e-wallet services of the firm is currently available in Mumbai, Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Nasik, Pune, Chennai and Chandigarh and the company will soon commence its operations in Surat, Baroda, Rajkot, Lucknow, Kanpur, Kochi and Kozhikode, he said.

An e-wallet is like a physical wallet that enables users to make electronic transactions quickly and securely, without cash.

"Earlier people were shocked to think that your phone could have a camera, but now everyone uses a camera phone.

Similarly in a couple of years it will be a wallet in your phone," he sid enthusing optimism.

Nokia at present has a tie-up for the e-wallet facility with Yes Bank and Union Bank of India, and the company is considering for a tie-up with other banks.

"We are still discussing with other banks for the facility, but I can not give you any names at this time," he said.

Nokia Money Services allows mobile phone users to transfer money to another person by using the person`s mobile phone number and also top up the prepaid card or pay utility bills.

okia`s e-wallet allows its customers to have upto Rs 50,000 in cash in their mobile phones, as per the directive from the Reserve Bank of India.

Romen added that his service was simpler than others as you just had to transfer the money by selecting the person in your contacts and by entering the amount to be transferred, and does not require any mobile money ID number.

The services can be accessed even in non-Nokia handsets by the interactive voice response system, but would require the transferor and the transferee to be registered on the Nokia services system.

The service is offered over a Mobile Payment platform developed by Obopay which receives its funding from Nokia, AllianceBernstein, Essar Telecom USA, Onset Ventures, Qualcomm, Redpoint Ventures, Richmond Management and Wolfensohn & Co.

Romen declined to give the firm`s investment detail in India, but said Nokia Money was launched for the first time in the country because it has 1.2 billion people and over 800 million mobile subscribers. He added that the reach of the service has now equalled the population of Kenya.

On Nokia`s financial services being launched in other countries, he said they are considering a few countries, but declined to give the locations.