Tata Communication led consortium launches mobile money transfer

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Mumbai, May 7 (UNI) A consortium of Tata Communications, HSBC, Idea Cellular and UAE-based telecom service provider Etisalat has launched a pilot project on money transferring facility via mobile phones.

''Our pilot project will be launched in Kerala which has 5.7 per cent of its population working abroad, many of them in UAE. Upto USD 2 billion are transferred back in remittances'', Idea CMO Pradeep Shrivastava said at the launch today.

The project is focusing on low value remittances of Rs 5,000 and below and will depend on volumes to cover costs. Under the project, expats in UAE will be able to transfer remittances from any bank via Etisalat as local service provider and HSBC as clearing bank.

In India, Idea's 2.7 subscriber base in Kerala will be utilized along with local bank branches. Tata Communications will provide the umbrella hub and existing NEFT system will be used.

''Our idea is to encourage multiple and frequent transactions through our experience and efficiency of volume to cover our costs,'' HSBC Deputy CEO Neelesh Heredia said.

The operation, including processing and forex clearance is expected to cost less than those of traditional channels and could take lesser days. Facilities of tracking, delivery confirmation and exchange rate enquiries will also be provided, he said.

''We are complying with all RBI regulations and will use the same rules and regulations to check any discrepancies like money laundering,'' Mr Heredia said.

The project would remove the grey areas regarding fees and service charges and would encourage deposit of money in M-platform to account holders in UAE. This form of holding money using mobile phone was not yet allowed in India, he added.

Depending on the results, the operation may be called up to include Saudi Arabia and pan India operations, he said.

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