German wireless operator MobilCom is to launch a mobile bank in association with regional financial institution Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg (LBBW).
The new venture, which will be 51% owned by MobilCom and 49% by LBBW, will be the first bank in the world dedicated to the provision of mobile payment and brokerage services say the partners. Under the agreement, MobilCom will be providing the technology and sales operation, while the LBBW will be responsible for the actual banking services.
All services will be available via mobile telephone - at first using SMS and WAP, then later offering the full range of services via the UMTS network. The new bank, dubbed MobilBank, plans to start business operations in the first half of this year and will initially target MobilCom's user base of 11 German mobile customers.
"This enables us to provide genuine additional benefits to our customers, with simple operation and low-cost processing," says Gerhard Schmid, managing director of MobilCom. "Opening the MobilBank means that we move into an important strategic field of business operations and offer a core application for the UMTS age."
Hans Dietmar Sauer, managing director of LBBW says the bank wants to stake out an early claim in the delivery of mobile financial services to consumers. "The LBBW is the first German bank to develop state-of-the-art bank technology which permits real-time bookings - the core services within the framework of mobile payment and mobile brokerage."
The two companies plan to demonstrate a prototype of the service at the Cebit 2001 technology fair in March.