Source: Western Union
Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Millicom International Cellular S.A. (Stockholmsbörsen: MIC), a leading mobile operator in 13 markets across Latin America and Africa operating under the Tigo brand, announced today at the Mobile World Congress the signing of an agreement to introduce cross-border mobile money transfers in Latin America.
The first cross-border money transfer service under this agreement will be launched soon in Paraguay under the Giros Tigo brand (Tigo Cash). Millicom will then be able to offer its customers in Paraguay the ability to receive money across borders using their mobile phones.
The service will be rolled out over time in other markets in Latin America. This agreement will allow millions of Tigo customers to benefit from Western Union's extensive network of more than 450,000 agent locations across 200 countries and territories, whilst Western Union will deepen its distribution reach in the markets in which Millicom operates.
"We're excited to join forces with Millicom, our first mobile money partner in Latin America," said Diane Scott, chief marketing officer and president, Western Union Ventures. "As a leader in moving money around the world via a variety of channels — retail and electronic — it's important that we continue to evolve and expand our services so they are even more convenient to use and accessible to as many people as possible. We're uniquely positioned to do this with our network of more than 450,000 agent locations, long-standing experience in moving money, and agreements with leading telecommunications groups like Millicom."
"We are pleased to be the first in Latin America to be launching a cross-border money transfer service in partnership with Western Union," said Marcelo Cataldo, Head of Mobile Financial Services, Millicom Latin America. "We continuously strive to offer our customers useful and affordable services, from communication to entertainment and mobile financial services. In Paraguay, we have been offering mobile financial services for over 18 months and, in the last quarter of 2011, around 20% of our customers used these facilities. With the addition of cross-border mobile money transfer services which we will soon provide in conjunction with Western Union, we aim to bring additional benefits to a growing number of our customers in Latin America."
Specific services under this agreement will vary by country, but over time, Tigo customers in most of Millicom's Latin American markets will be able to receive money from Western Union customers directly into their mobile accounts. They will also be able to cash out transactions at any Tigo location offering the Giros Tigo facility.
Western Union offers its Mobile Money Transfer service in Bangladesh, Canada, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Tanzania and the U.S.
Millicom offers Mobile Financial Services and in particular in-market money transfers in Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Tanzania, Ghana and Rwanda and will extend its offering to more services and into more markets over time.