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GSMA announces 7 new grant recipients of Mobile Money for the Unbanked Fund

May 27, 2010

phoneGSMA has announced seven new recipients of grants from the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Fund to accelerate the deployment and scale of mobile money services in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The recipients’ projects were chosen on their ability to deliver, speed of delivery, scale and sophistication. The company claims that between now and the end of 2011, millions of consumers are expected to directly benefit from mobile commerce services launched with the support of the fund.

“We want to build a portfolio of innovative mobile money projects from which the rest of the industry can learn,” said Seema Desai, senior program manager at the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked Fund, London.

“With the program, we get access to deep insights and learnings from a portfolio of innovative projects around the world, which we can then share with the rest of the industry,” she said.

GSMA focuses on the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry.

Here is how each of the new grantees will use its grant:

• Cellcard will be provide financial services including money transfer, bill payment and airtime top-up to working-class migrants who need to send money home to families in rural areas, in Cambodia.

• Digicel Fiji will launch a low-cost mobile wallet product which will let Fijians access commercial transactions, which can be delivered through Digicel’s existing distributor network. In addition, this will launch remittance, top-up and bill payment services with the aim of extending to a full financial services offering following the commercial launch. 

• Orange is studying customer needs in each market, with the intention of building on existing mobile money services by introducing more advanced financial services.

• Safaricom is using M-PESA – a mobile commerce platform – to facilitate social transfer payments from Non-Governmental organizations, NGOs and the Kenyan government to vulnerable households in informal settlements in Nairobi.

• Tata Teleservices is working with its technology partner mChek to target microfinance customers in rural India and particularly the large numbers of dairy, contract and agricultural workers in India.

• Easypaisa, with the help of Telenor Pakistan, is working to develop a savings/insurance product which can be offered on top of the Easypaisa platform.

• Tigo is experimenting with innovative distribution channels for a new mobile money platform in one of its African markets.

“The GSMA Development Fund initiated the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) program to accelerate the availability of mobile money services to the unbanked and those living on less than $2 per day,” Ms. Desai said. “There are one billion consumers in developing countries today who have access to mobile phones but no access to formal financial services – this fig is set to rise to 1.7 billion by 2012.

“Mobile gives customers a means to send, receive, borrow and save money in ways that are significantly faster, cheaper and more convenient than the alternatives that they previously had to rely on,” she said.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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