Mobile operators currently use a variety of methods for customers to top-up their mobile phones. These methods include calling the mobile network operator, through the Internet and at the point of sale. Mobile network operators are now aiming for 40 per cent of top-up transactions to be performed directly via the handset by the end of 2007.
Recognising this emerging technological development, in 2004, ReD made a 20% equity investment in Mi-Pay whose service portfolio allows mobile phone users to top-up directly through the handset, making payments easier.
In addition, ReD is also partnering with Mi-Pay by providing its payment gateway and card fraud prevention services to Mi-Payâs customers.
ReD is already the largest processor of pre-pay mobile transactions in the UK through card-not-present channels. ReDâs mobile telecoms clients include: T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and O2 amongst others. In Western Europe alone, the preâpaid mobile top-up market is valued at around Euro 30 billion. There are 200 million mobile handsets in use in Europe and on average each user makes 10 top-up payments per annum, giving a total of 2 billion transactions per annum.
Established in 2003, Mi-Pay delivers mobile network operators with significant cost reductions for pre-paid services such as mobile top-up and e-money account re-charging, and as such makes these services financially viable. The company has recently won a contract with Telfort one of the largest mobile operators in the Netherlands.
Mi-Pay is led by Norman Frankel, who was formerly the Mobile Commerce Director of LogicaCMG. Prior to that Norman was Group Head of New Media at NatWest.
Chief Executive of ReD, Carl Clump, said:
"We are delighted to have invested in Mi-Pay as a strategic partner in this important growth sector. It is clear to us that mobile payments are the next revolution in the payments market and our partnership with Mi-Pay gives us access to their in-depth understanding of that market plus a new and growing revenue line".
Managing Director of Mi-Pay, Norman Frankel, added:
âMobile network operators, looking at ways to reduce costs and direct customers to easier payment channels, are now prompting the evolution of the third generation of the pre-paid top-up. Until now the mobile payment option has been too expensive, but with the Mi-Pay solution it is finally viable. It is a major coup for us to have the support of ReDâs leading payment processing and card fraud prevention capabilities as well as their global expertise which will significantly strengthen our proposition.â