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Value Proposition, Distribution, Partnerships- The growth pillars of Aircel e-Money

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The adoption of smartphones in India is on a rise and at the same time Mobile wallet is gradually gaining grounds in the life of commoners. Be it recharges or payments, people are slowly adopting the mobile way of paying money. Aircel, a known player in telecom industry, has entered into the mobile banking business with its product e-Money. As a new entrant in this segment, its strategy is to bank on its vast subscriber base. L.V.Sastry, Vice-President – Mobile Banking and Commerce, Aircel identified the three pillars of growth on which the company will achieve growth. He also discussed about the drivers of the market, challenges and concern areas of this segment.

How do you position Aircel in the mobile wallet market?

In a very short span, the mobile-banking industry has witnessed a stunning and robust growth. From 2012-15, mobile banking transactions grew by 4000% in terms of value and over 500% in volume. Aircel being a large telecom player with over 80 million customers has a very clear strategy laid out for its mobile banking business. Being a new entrant, Aircel e-Money has the advantage of having this huge customer base of 80 million at its disposal and we are offering our mobile payment and banking services to this wide customer base. Payments form the backbone of our offerings and include recharges, bill payments and sundry merchant payments for which currently our customers use cash. Aircel e-Money is also available for non-Aircel customers.

What is your strategy to tap the market?

The strategy is to tap our own subscriber base and capture a bulk of their payment transactions. Aircel e-Money is complementary to our voice and data services offered to our 80 million customers. The ease of use of Aircel e-Money well dovetailed into our mobile services would be the key.

However, special offers, tactical tie-ups with a wide range of popular merchants and additional talk time will be the key drivers for growth for our mobile wallet service. We are also banking on our robust back-end analytics system to understand customer behaviour and pattern to innovate with our payment solutions accordingly.

What is the size of customer base of Aircel M-Wallet?

Domestic remittances, recharges and payments are the major revenue generators for wallets as of now. We are targeting migrants for remittance and youth and professionals for M-commerce. Aircel has identified its three pillars of growth as: Value Proposition, Distribution, Partnerships & Tie-ups and we will build on them to achieve a robust growth for our wallet business.

What are risks and challenges that are involved in this business? What are the areas of concerns in this segment?

Cash economy is an area of growth as well as a major challenge for all wallet companies. While infrastructure challenges mar the service experience of subscribers, the habit of transacting in cash will take some time to disappear. But with time we feel the ease of transacting through mobile wallets will surely become a way of life.

Aircel is now focussed on increasing awareness and is working in the areas of:
• Increasing awareness about the features, ease of use and benefits of Mobile Wallets
• Acceptability of mobile wallets as secure, safe and transparent
• Profitability of the business for Telcos and sustenance with increased competition

How do you see the future of this market?

The start has been robust and we believe the projected increase in M-commerce transactions is part of the convergence that is seen for some time around the smart phone business. The convergence is a positive trend as far as mobile wallets are concerned and it would certainly drive adaption of mobile commerce. Given the increasing number of threats and security breaches, M-wallets have surely emerged as one of the most secured and safe mode of mobile commerce transactions and it will pick up momentum as we move forward.

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