UK mobile messaging vendor Broca has won a deal to provide the technology for a SMS-based payments and banking pilot in Nigeria.
Under the agreement, Broca will provide a pilot system based on its Secure Advanced Messaging Service (Sams) to Telnet Nigeria which will then be offered to banking clients in the country.
The system will enable customers to conduct cash transfers, pay for airtime and make satellite TV payments.
Broca says Sams offers a completely secure SMS messaging service, allowing sensitive banking details to be sent across the network, verified and stored safely.
The vendor also says that the system is ideal for mobile banking in developing nations like Nigeria because it is based on text messaging rather than less prevalent technologies like GPRS.
Ian Price, managing director, Broca, says the pilot agreement of this nature provides the firms with "an important foothold in the African continent, where mobile commerce is growing at an impressive rate and which already has over 250 million mobile subscribers".
The importance of mobile banking and payments in Africa has been highlighted by several recent deals. Earlier this month Vodafone agreed to acquire a 70% stake in publicly-owned Ghana Telecom for $900 million in cash, opening up a potentially rich new market for its M-Pesa mobile money transfer system.
Vodafone says its presence in Ghana will expand the footprint of M-Pesa, its mobile money transfer system which is currently targeting the unbanked population in Kenya.
In May MoneyBoxAfrica - an initiative promoted by Nigeria's Integrated Capital Service - teamed with German vendor paybox to create a pan-African mobile banking and payments system.
Paybox says its Mobiliser platform and Money Mobiliser product will enable customers to remotely save money into their accounts, top up phones, pay utility bills and tithes, buy insurance, send money to friends and relatives, withdraw cash at agents' locations or ATMs, get access to credit and make investments.
In the same month UK m-banking outfit Monitise launched its mobile banking and payments platform in East Africa through a joint venture with Made In Africa, an organisation that aims to introduce capital and sustainable technologies to the region.