Nokia to exit mobile money business, 2 lakh subscribers in India to get fee refund

Nokia, the Finnish handset maker has decided to exit mobile money business, two years after it announced the service in India. The move is in line with the company’s global strategy to move out of non-core areas, as per a Business Line report.

Nokia Money went live pan-India in December 2011 in partnership with Union Bank Money and Yes Bank Money. It had also launched the service independently under the Nokia Money brand which has about 2 lakh subscribers. Apart from India, Nokia had launched the service, based on Obopay’s mobile payment platform, in other countries, including Pakistan.

The immediate impact will be on the two lakh Nokia Money subscribers. According to sources, information to these subscribers to use up the money deposited in the mobile money account will be sent starting March 15. Nokia will continue the service for 3-4 months to give enough time for subscribers to use up the money.

The handset maker will offer to refund the registration fee collected from the subscribers. It will also approach the Reserve Bank of India to surrender the licence it took for launching the service. Subscribers using the YES Bank and Union Bank services may not be affected as the two banks may take over the platform. Nokia is looking to bring in another player to help the two banks sustain the payment service.

According to Tavess Research, mobile money in emerging markets of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa is expected to cross 1 billion users by 2015, with India accounting for over 100 million subscribers.Nokia directly employs about 100 people for this business, some of whom may be absorbed by the company. This comes even as mobile payment is gaining currency in India and in other parts of the world. There have been at least three new launches of mobile payment services over the past month by different players, including Airtel, HDFC, MasterCard and Visa. Iamwire’s query on their exit is yet to be answered.

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