Western Union and GSMA to Create New Global Mobile Money Transfer Service

    NEW YORK, October 18 /CNW/ - The GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade
association representing over 700 GSM mobile phone operators, and The Western
Union Company (NYSE:   WU), a global leader in money-transfer services, today
announced an agreement to facilitate the development of cross-border mobile
money transfer services.

    Western Union and the GSMA are developing a commercial and technical
framework that mobile operators can use to deploy services that enable
consumers to send and receive low-denomination, high-frequency money transfers
using their mobile phones. The first commercial services that make use of the
framework are anticipated to be rolled out beginning in the second quarter of

    The framework forms a key element of both Western Union's mobile strategy
and the GSMA's Mobile Money Transfer program which aims to use the reach and
ease of mobile money transfer services to expand the mobile financial services
market and stimulate social and economic development. Mobile money transfer
services will make it simple, quick and affordable for more people to send
small amounts of money through a conventional and regulated system. Both
Western Union and the GSMA believe there is an opportunity to create and grow
a large new market for low-denomination transfers.

    "Mobile networks now cover more than 80 percent of the world's population
and 3 billion people(1) have a mobile phone, creating an unprecedented
opportunity to extend the benefits of financial services to the majority of
the world's families for the first time," said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA.
"Mobile money transfers are a key driver in the development of a potentially
vast market for financial services delivered via the mobile phone."

    "Western Union has a long tradition of innovation," said Western Union
President and CEO Christina Gold. "Our focus on the mobile money transfer
space is an important step in expanding the range of Western Union's global
services to a new category of consumers. Our brand, extensive network, and
compliance capabilities, combined with the GSMA members' market reach,
uniquely positions Western Union in the mobile money transfer marketplace."

    The Western Union mobile service will connect operators to Western
Union's existing global money transfer system, which processed approximately
17 percent of the world's remittance volume in 2006. Once connected to the
Western Union service, operators will be able to use their own "mobile wallet"
software to enable person-to-person mobile money transfers over Western
Union's cross-border remittance network. The Mobile Money Transfer service
will enable consumers to transfer money to or from mobile wallets and will
offer a global network of Western Union Agent locations for cash-to-mobile and
mobile-to-cash transactions.

    Thirty-five GSMA operators with more than 800 million customers in more
than 100 countries are participating in the GSMA Mobile Money Transfer
program. Led by Sunil Mittal, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti
Airtel, the Mobile Money Transfer program is overseen by a steering committee
made up of representatives from Bharti, MTN, Orange, Orascom, Smart, Telenor
and VimpelCom.

    "Remittances are playing a vital role in the social and economic
development of India and many other developing countries," said Mr. Mittal.
"This initiative will bring down the cost of lower-value and high-frequency
mobile remittances considerably and also enable smaller amounts to be
transferred in a fast and secure fashion, thereby benefiting millions of
people in the developing world."

    Western Union and its affiliates provide money transfer services across
200 countries through a network of more than 312,000 Agent locations.

    Notes to editors:

    (1) Source: GSMA

    The GSMA and Western Union will provide more details at the forthcoming
Mobile Asia Congress, which takes place in Macau between 12th and 15th

    About the GSMA

    The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing
more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories
of the world. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support
the Association's initiatives as key partners.

    The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless
services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to
individual customers and national economies, whiles creating news business
opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members
serve more than two billion customers - 82% of the world's mobile phone users.

    About The Western Union Company

    Western Union, together with its affiliates Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, is a
leading provider of global money-transfer services, providing people with
fast, reliable and convenient ways to send money around the world, pay bills
and purchase money orders through a network of more than 312,000 Agent
locations in over 200 countries and territories. For more information, visit

    Western Union Safe Harbor Compliance Statement for Forward-Looking

    This presentation contains forward-looking statements regarding projected
future results. Forward-looking statements include all statements that do not
relate solely to historical or current facts, and generally can be identified
by the use of words such as "may," "believe," "will," "expect," "project,"
"estimate," "anticipate," "plan," "could," "would," "likely," "intend" or
"continue." All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they
are based on various expectations and assumptions concerning future events and
they are subject to numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties which
could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those
projected. These factors include, but are not limited to: changes in general
economic conditions and economic conditions in the geographic regions and
industries in which we operate; the impact of our spin-off from First Data
Corporation ("First Data"); changes in immigration laws, patterns and other
factors related to immigrants; technological changes, particularly with
respect to e-commerce; our ability to attract and retain qualified key
employees; changes in foreign exchange rates, including the impact of foreign
exchange spreads on money transfer transactions; adverse movements and
volatility in debt and equity capital markets; changes in political conditions
and related actions by the United States and abroad which may adversely affect
the Company's businesses and economic conditions as a whole; continued growth
in the money transfer market and other markets in which we operate at rates
approximating recent levels; implementation of agent contracts according to
schedule; our ability to maintain our agent network; interruption of United
States government relations with countries in which the Company has or is
implementing material agent contracts; deterioration in consumers' confidence
in our business, or in money transfer providers generally; successfully
managing credit and fraud risks from our agents and consumers; liabilities and
unanticipated developments resulting from litigation and regulatory
investigations and similar matters, including costs, expenses, settlements and
judgments; changes in domestic or foreign laws, rules and regulations as well
as Internal Revenue Service or other governmental agencies' interpretations
thereof; changes in accounting standards, rules and interpretations; competing
effectively in the money transfer industry with respect to global and niche or
corridor money transfer providers, banks and other nonbank money transfer
services providers, including telecommunications providers, card associations
and card-based payments providers; our ability to grow our core businesses;
our ability to develop and introduce new products, services and enhancements,
and gain market acceptance of such products; our ability to protect our brands
and our other intellectual property rights and to defend ourselves against
potential patent infringement and other intellectual property claims; any
material breach of security of or interruptions in any of our systems;
mergers, acquisitions and integration of acquired businesses and technologies
into the Company and the realization of anticipated synergies from these
acquisitions; decisions to downsize, sell or close units or otherwise change
the business mix; catastrophic events; and management's ability to manage
these and other risks.




For further information:

For further information: The Western Union Company Daniel Diaz,
+1-720-332-5564 daniel.diaz@WesternUnion.com
mobilemoneytransfer@WesternUnion.com or GSM Association David Pringle,
+44-795-755-6069 press@gsm.org

Organization Profile

Western Union

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890