Vodafone India had partnered with multi-national Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank earlier to announce their mobile-payment platform M-Pesa. Now the same endeavor is expected to have matured enough to be launched in Mumbai.
M-Pesa is essentially a mobile wallet with ICICI Bank acting as the Banking solutions provider while Vodafone acts as the telecom service provider. Users can interact and transact using the M-Pesa accounts and execute multitude of functions like withdrawing cash from specified outlets, paying utility bills, buying mobile recharge and transferring money to any mobile phone or bank account. The service appears to have gone through multiple iterations and backers before eventually settling for ICICI Bank. Hence to ensure M-Pesa had a secured launch, it was released in East India – Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal only. Though the duo has chosen to come to Mumbai now, other cities that are lined-up include Kolkata, Rajasthan and Delhi / NCR.
Mobile Wallets are still in their experimental phases. Despite being in its infancy, Mobile Wallets could be the next true driver of mobile as well as physical commerce.
Vodafone India’s confidence is clearly exhibited by its decision to launch M-Pesa in Mumbai.