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June 29, 2009updated 04 Apr 2017 4:17pm

Canada’s big-three mobile network operators join forces

Long-standing rivals in the battle for market share, Canadas three largest mobile network operators (MNO) have joined forces to launch Zoompass, a mobile phone-based payments service which they have hailed as revolutionary

By Stafford Thomas

Long-standing rivals in the battle for market share, Canada’s three largest mobile network operators (MNO) have joined forces to launch Zoompass, a mobile phone-based payments service which they have hailed as “revolutionary”.

In terms of services offered, the claim revolutionary undoubtedly reflects marketing hype. However, in terms of interoperability between MNOs in a single country, Zoompass is certainly a notable achievement.

Interoperability is ensured by market dominance of the three MNOs which at the end of 2008 had a combined total of just under 21 million subscribers, some 95 percent of Canada’s total mobile phone market. Subscribers were divided fairly equally between the three: Rogers Communications had 7.95 million; Bell Mobility, 6.61 million; and TELUS 6.13 million.

Coordinating their drive into mobile payments, the MNOs have established a joint venture company, EnStream, which is tasked with development and operation of Zoompass. EnStream is headed by Robin Dua formerly product development director at ExxonMobil’s Speedpass Network, the world’s largest contactless payment network.

With Zoompass, the MNO partners have opted for a bank-integrated service with users on registration linking their Zoompass account to their personal bank account or credit card.

Zoompass can be accessed by users via computer-based internet, mobile internet or by downloading the Zoompass application onto their mobile device. Customer transactions are PIN and encryption-protected and financial information is stored on secure servers, not on mobile devices.

Services available include transfer and receipt of money and review of balances and transaction history. In addition, the service enables users to make in-store and online purchases using the balance on their Zoompass account in conjunction with an optional Zoompass prepaid MasterCard.

Of note, the prepaid card is enabled with MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payments technology.

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