(FREE) Belgacom has swiftly capitalised on its purchase of a 40 percent stake in Belgian mobile payments specialist Tunz in March with the unveiling of partnerships and initiatives aimed at achieving what it terms “a rapid breakthrough in mobile micro-payments.”
Tunz’s mobile payments platform enables person-to-person payments, internet payments, ticketing and contactless payments, the focus of Belgacom’s new partnerships.
At a press conference held a week after the Tunz deal’s announcement, the Belgian telecommunications company revealed that it has partnered with Accor Services, Delhaize and Coca-Cola to undertake developments in the mobile phone-based contactless micro-payments space.
Belgacom and its partners have launched PingPing as the brand for their micro-payments initiatives.
The focus of Belgacom’s partnership with Accor, a major player in the global employee benefits market, is a pilot project in which Accor’s Ticket Restaurant luncheon voucher will be incorporated as a contactless payments solution in the form of a near field communication (NFC) sticker on mobile phones.
The pilot project will encompass 500 employees at Belgacom’s head office and 500 employees at Belgian food retailer Delhaize with which Belgacom will also undertake additional contactless payments trials at one of the retailer’s stores in the city of Brussels.
In its partnership with Coca-Cola, Belgacom will undertake trials using NFC-sticker equipped mobile phones to make contactless payments at drinks vending machines.
Belgacom is no stranger to mobile phone payments, its Belgian mobile network operating unit Proximus having launched a short message service (SMS) transport ticketing system in conjunction with Flemish public transport company De Lijn in 2007. In 2008 226,000 SMS tickets were sold.
Consolidating its market position, Belgacom last year acquired Belgian SMS parking payments specialist Mobile-for.
In 2008, 1.3 million parking transactions were registered with the number expected to reach 2 million in 2009.
On the mobile remittance front, Belgacom International Carrier Services’ (Belgacom ICS) joint venture with French mobile technology vendor eServGlobal, Homesend, successfully tested a remittance corridor between Belgium and a mobile network operator (MNO) in an unnamed North African country in March this year.
According to Belgacom, ICS HomeSend is the first mobile-centric global hubbing service for international remittance, airtime exchange and roaming recharge.
Tests from Europe and the Middle East to South East Asia, and within Africa and South East Asia are being undertaken.
Belgacom and Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom Fixnet have stakes of 72 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in Belgacom ICS, which serves over 200 MNO’s and is currently ranked as the world’s eighth-largest voice-traffic operator.