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India: Nokia Replaces Cold, Hard Cash With SMS Messages


“Indian launch of Nokia Money, Nokia’s new e-wallet service, is a push to win back consumers.”

The mobile world is changing and as it does, so does our lifestyle.  Mobile device makers, app developers, and service providers have come up with countless new apps, models, and services to attract mobile users.  Apps which are user friendly and solve our problems are what we want, right?

Dave McClure, the outspoken angel investor, said at one of our mobiTalk sessions, “Solve people’s problem and they will pay you money.”  Certainly not an overly deep thought, but one that it seems that we need to hear again from time to time.

Well folks, there is a new service in town replacing your wallet with electronic gadgets and it’s called e-wallet or Mobile wallet.  With it, you can access banking services to make basic financial payments like utility bills, insurance premiums, buying tickets, etc. — just by sending a  SMS  without any internet connection.

There are many companies worldwide offering e-wallet services, but the service Nokia launched in India will have a deep impact because of its unique offerings.  Additionally, Nokia still holds the number one position in the Indian market as far as volume goes. Earlier this year, Loop Mobile and Nokia showed their interest in offering mobile money services.  Nokia has now gone ahead and announced the pan-India launch of Nokia Money for Indian market.

Universal In Some Ways And Not In Others

Nokia users can use this service by registering at their local Nokia retail store.  After registering, all the user needs to do is deposit cash on to the account and it is ready for use.  Being a closed wallet, its services do not  need KYC documentation.  Another benefit is that prior e -wallets service providers asked consumers to synchronizing a bank account to the e-wallet, but Nokia’s version does not require it.

“There is a need for alternate financial payment instruments in India and the mobile handset offers a perfect mass platform to deliver these. Transaction costs on mobile devices are significantly lower. Nokia brings multiple offerings and is developing an open ecosystem to deliver mobile money services to users depending on their need,” said Gary Singh, General Manager of Nokia Mobile Payment Services.

Being independent of network carriers and individual banking network, Nokia Money operates across all handsets including Nokia own handsets which will be pre-loaded with the Nokia Money service in India.  It works over SMS, GPRS/3G, and Wi-Fi.

But it does has its own limitations.  Those consumers who are looking for merchant payments or person-to-person transfers will have to look elsewhere.  Their best best would be bank mobile money product offerings like Union Bank Money or Yes Bank Money.


The e-wallet industry will be hot in the Indian market and Nokia has an edge over other handset makers and service provider like Comviva, Reliance Telecommunications, Samsung, and Vodafone.  That said, Nokia will face fierce competition from its competitors to win back Indian consumers who have already wandered away.

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  1. Sumit Grover says:

    Nokia Money is a free
    service that aims at reducing the problems and risks involved with carrying
    cash with one self. The customer need not carry any cash but he can carry as
    much money (up to Rs. 50,000/-) in his mobile
    phone. For further information on Nokia Money service, please get in touch with
    your nearest Nokia Retailer.

    Thank you.

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