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
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.
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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.