ENGLEWOOD, COLO. & NEW DELHI, November 29 /CNW/ - In a first-of-its-kind
agreement, Bharti Airtel and Western Union have decided to jointly develop and
pilot a Mobile Money Transfer service in India. This pioneering agreement will
usher in the possibility of sending money to India via a mobile phone. The
Mobile Money Transfer service is subject to regulatory approval.
According to The World Bank, the number of migrants globally is 200
million - approximately three percent of the world's population. The World
Bank also identifies India as the number one remittance recipient market.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suggest that the inward annual
remittance into India stood at over $26 billion for the fiscal year 2006 -
2007, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the global inward remittance
"We are delighted to work with Western Union in this path-breaking
initiative and be at the forefront of enabling international remittance over
mobile for our 50 million mobile phone customers in India. This will help us
move money via mobile in a fast and convenient way, supporting low-value
transactions," said Mr. Gopal Vittal, director marketing and communications,
Bharti Airtel Limited.
Bharti Airtel has an extensive footprint across India and Western Union,
together with its affiliates Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, has more than 320,000
Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. In India, Western
Union operates through 45,000 Agent locations, including 8,500 post offices
and more than 14,000 bank branches across 5,000 towns and cities. This program
will enable Indians living abroad to send remittances to their families in
India in an easy and convenient fashion through the vast networks of both
"Our association with Bharti Airtel for the Mobile Money Transfer service
is an important step in expanding the range of Western Union(R) global
services to a new category of consumers across the world," said Matt Dill,
General Manager, Western Union Mobile. "This is a very exciting development,
especially given the expanse and reach of mobile services in the Indian
The reach and accessibility of mobile networks in developing economies
create new opportunities to extend the benefits of financial services to many
families for the first time.
Mobile networks now cover the majority of the world's population.(2)
Applications that allow a mobile subscriber to view and manage funds on their
handsets are emerging in select countries as a foundation for phone-based
The relationship with Bharti Airtel follows a landmark agreement between
Western Union and the GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade association
representing over 700 GSM mobile phone operators, to facilitate the
development of cross-border mobile money transfer services. Bharti Airtel
chairs the steering committee of the GSMA's Mobile Money Transfer program.
Thirty-five mobile networks operators are participating in the program, which
is designed to stimulate the development, trials and commercialization of
mobile remittance services.
(1) Source: RBI
(2) Source: GSMA
About Bharti Airtel Limited
Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is India's
leading integrated telecom services provider with an aggregate of 53 million
customers as of the end of October 2007, consisting of 50.9 million mobile
customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among the best performing companies in
the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list in 2007.
Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units: Mobile
services, Telemedia services and Enterprise services. The mobile business
provides mobile and fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23
telecom circles. The Telemedia business provides broadband and telephone
services in 94 cities and is foraying into the IPTV and DTH segments. The
Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate
customers and national and international long distance services to carriers.
All these services are provided under the Airtel brand. Airtel's high-speed
optic fiber network currently spans over 55,000 kms covering all the major
cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in
Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and
SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. For more information, visit www.bhartiairtel.in.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global money transfer
services. Together with its affiliates, Orlandi Valuta, Vigo and Pago Facil,
Western Union provides consumers with fast, reliable and convenient ways to
send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase
money orders. It operates through a network of more than 320,000 Agent
locations in over 200 countries and territories. Famous for its pioneering
telegraph services, the original Western Union dates back to 1851. For more
information, visit www.WesternUnion.com.
For further information:
For further information: The Western Union Company Anja Reitermann,
+33-49-35-82-815 anja.reitermann@intl.WesternUnion.com Daniel Diaz,