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Ezetop’s global mobile infrastructure powers mobile payment applicationsBy
Recognizing the potential for mobile phones to be used as a payment device, ezetop Ltd. opened its application programming interface to developers to build new applications based on its underlying mobile phone platform and infrastructure backbone.
Built with the help of Mashery’s API management services, the program guarantees developers 4 percent of all transactions conducted through their applications, providing a direct monetization strategy.
Ezetop’s technology lets users to top up their mobile phone minutes—or the minutes of a friend or family member—on 125 wireless carriers in 65 countries worldwide.
The company realized that its underlying technology and robust infrastructure backbone could be leveraged to conduct monetary transactions as well.
With more than 850 million users on its partners’ carrier networks and the pervasiveness of mobile devices in the developing world, ezetop saw a market opportunity that it could leverage with the help of the developer community.
Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed David Bowles, online product manager at ezetop, Dublin, Ireland. Here is what he had to say:
What is the strategy behind the partnership between ezetop and Mashery?
We have built an international top-up infrastructure by partnering with more than 120 wireless carriers worldwide and today consumers can send airtime internationally from any of our 160,000-plus retail outlets or online through ezetop.com.
By partnering with Mashery, we are opening up our platform so that new partners can use our API to send airtime immediately to any of the approximately 850 million mobile telephones accessible through our system.
Partners can go to http://partners.ezetop.com, learn in detail how to access our API and begin earning 4 percent on all top-ups that they send.
We are already seeing a lot of interest in this strategy from developers and companies who are interested in using airtime in innovative ways, for example, by selling it on their Web site, using it to incentivize customers with promotions or rewarding customers for loyalty with airtime.
What challenges does Mashery address for ezetop?
Mashery brought scale to our API infrastructure, providing an easy-to-use solution for signing up new partners and allowing us to concentrate on developing relationships with new partners.
Mashery also has a vibrant developer community to whom we will be demonstrating the strong potential of our API.
What is ezetop’s target demographic?
We specialize in providing airtime directly to the mobile telephones of people in the emerging markets.
Traditionally our customer base has been people who are living in the developed world and want to send airtime home to their loved ones.
Our partner network strategy enables us to expand our target demographic to include partners who wish to use airtime for other purposes.
For example, we are working with crowd-sourcing companies who have a large number of workers around the world who they compensate via airtime.
Txteagle is a crowd-sourcing partner of ours that provides translation and other services to companies.
Txteagle takes the text of a document and sends each sentence to a separate worker via SMS. The worker then sends back the translated sentence via SMS and is compensated for their effort with airtime.
We are also very interested in speaking with developers who have innovative ways of using airtime.
A developer can connect any of their existing applications to our API within minutes and open up a new way to incentivize or reward customers, as well as accessing a large population of users who are interested in sending airtime internationally.
What is the current state of mobile payments, and what is the potential?
It must be remembered that the status of mobile payments in the developed and emerging markets is very different.
Although mobile payments are still in their infancy in the developed world, in the emerging markets individuals are already being compensated through airtime and are transferring airtime among themselves using their phones.
In the emerging markets these individuals will likely have no credit card or bank account, but they will always have a prepaid mobile telephone and airtime on a mobile telephone can bring great economic value.
Airtime empowers people through communication, allowing them to make decisions such as which market to attend by knowing in advance what price goods are being sold for, or conduct business deals with organizations in remote cities.
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