In a move which ramps up the competition between banks and mobile carriers for contol of the consumer payment franchise, Mobilkom Austria has become the first wireless operator to acquire a banking license.
Mobilkom Austria says its new banking subsidiary, A1 Bank, will guarantee secure mobile commerce transactions through the development of billing accounts and micro-payment solutions. The company says it will integrate its existing services and applications, such as m-ticketing, into the new banking franchise.
In a statement outlining the thinking behind the move to acquire a banking license, MobilKom states: "Due to growing m-commerce demand it has become imperative for mobile operators to set up such legally secure steps."
Mobilkom says it will seek to establish a unified standard for mobile payment in co-operation with Austrian banks.
Boris Nemsic, CEO of Mobilkom Austria, says: "The mobile phone is the only medium which allows secure and quick money transactions any where and at any time."
Once customers have given their approval, their mobile number can be used as billing number allowing consumers to immediately carry out high security level money transactions, he says.
Mobilkom Austria's customer base and transaction volumes for m-commerce applications doubled between January and December 2001. Last year 42,000 orders with a total ticket volume of EUR710,000 were transacted.