'Mobile money' service by Nokia

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Nokia, whose domination in the mobile handset market is under severe threat, is trying its luck with a new scheme ‘mobile money’ – a service that lets people without bank accounts pay bills and retailers, send money and save money through their handset -to revive its fortune, reported ET.

Nokia has formed a company, Nokia Mobile Payments, to roll out this service, branded Money, across the country after pilots in Pune, Nashik and Chandigarh. And it won’t use the ‘Nokia’ name because its accessible on all mobile phones.

“We have branded the service as Money because it’s built on open architecture and works on all phones,” Nokia Mobile Payments General Manager Gary Singh says. Unlike mobile banking, which is an additional channel to those with bank accounts, mobile money is positioned as an alternative to cash for the unbanked and underbanked population.

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Nokia is among the first bench of companies offering mobile money in the country, a new buzz among banks and mobile service providers after it got the central bank clearance in 2010 with the condition that the money must be parked in a traditional banking system. “We aim to work across all handsets, all operators and all banks,” says Singh.

MAKE OR BREAK
Analysts say mobile money will be crucial for Nokia to check the free fall in its mobile handset sales.

“Over the last two years there has been a huge onslaught of local (handset) brands, which have had a deeper penetration into the market. So to get closer to those customers, Nokia has taken a right strategy to go with an open brand name,” says advisory firm Deloitte India Director Sandip Biswas.

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