Airtel leads Western Union - GSM Association initiative to create new global mobile money transfer service

Western Union and the GSMA are developing a commercial and technical framework, which mobile operators can use to deploy services that allow consumers to send and receive low-denomination, high-frequency money transfers using their mobile phones.

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators who reach oveer 2 bilion telecom users or 83 per cent of the world''s mobile phone users around the world.

The assocaition''s primary goals are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers, whiles creating news business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The assocaition''s. members serve over two billion customers, roughly about 82 per cent of the world''s mobile phone users

Western Union says 35 GSMA operators with a customer base of more than 800 million across over 100 countries are participating in the GSMA mobile money transfer programme.

Led by Sunil Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Airtel, the mobile money transfer programme is overseen by a steering committee made up of representatives from Bharti, MTNL, Orange, Orascom, Smart, Telenor and VimpelCom.

"Remittances are playing a vital role in the social and economic development of India and many other developing countries," says Mittal. "This initiative will bring down the cost of lower-value and high-frequency mobile remittances considerably and also enable smaller amounts to be transferred in a fast and secure fashion, thereby benefiting millions of people in the developing world."