Mobile money boosted in Sri Lanka with pioneer partnership

MARCH 25,2014.


Payments through mobile phones have topped 700 million rupees a month, Sri Lanka's Dialog Axiata said as Etisalat, a competitor tied up to use the service, in what officials said was the world first such partnership.

Fariq Cader, head of mobile money and payments systems at Dialog said during 2013, 6 billion rupees of deals had taken place though its mobile payment platform and monthly transactions had now topped 700 million rupees.

Dialog had 1.3 million of its 7.5 million subscribers on its 'eZcash' branded service.

Etisalat Lanka, which has more than 4 million subscribers in its network, joined Dialog to use its service.

Gerald Rasagu, a specialist on mobile money from GSM Association, a body representing over 800 operators said it was the first time two operators had tied up to use a common branded mobile payment platform.

"We know the world will be looking at this new path you have taken and looking to replicate it," Rasagu said.

Sharing the payment platform allowed networks to cut costs and serve subscribers better.

Rasagu said competitive pressures seem to be keeping operators from sharing payment platforms in other countries, so far.

Officials said sharing the same platform allowed seamless interoperability and customers of both networks could now transact with each other as if they were on the same network.



Dialog group chief executive Hans Wijayasuriya said all operators in Sri Lanka had been invited to share its platform and so far only Etisalat had taken up the offer.

But the Dialog system allowed any operators to be 'plugged in'.

Etisalat acting chief executive Wail Salman said the process and time for getting approvals and setting up their own network was a key factor in the decision to share a payments network.

Cader said eZcash had a network of about 16,000 participants made up of telecom shops, supermarkets where payment could be made and collected as well as schools, utilities and insurance companies and state agencies that accepted mobile money.

Sharing networks avoided the use of multiple point of sale machinery and simplified the work of merchants in the system, they said.