Kuwaiti m-payment group plans 2004 launch

Paybox, the Frankfurt-based mobile payment consortium, is preparing to launch into the Middle East after striking a deal to deploy its system in Kuwait in 2004.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  October 19, 2003

Paybox, the Frankfurt-based mobile payment consortium, is preparing to launch into the Middle East after striking a deal to deploy its system in Kuwait in 2004.

The group, which has developed technology to allow mobile users to make financial transactions with their phones, has signed a licence agreement with M-Net, a Kuwaiti consortium focused on automated banking services, to roll out services in 10 countries across the Middle East.

The M-Net group consists of leading regional banks, telcos and trade corporations including Kuwait-based mobile operator MTC-Vodafone, the National Bank of Kuwait, the Al Shava retail company, and the Al Roudan Group.

The consortium was launched and is chaired by Nasser Al Roudan, the former Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait.

Global uptake of mobile payment services has been slower than expected and paybox was forced this year to restructure its business and discontinue its services in the UK, Germany and Sweden after a management buy-out of Deutsche Bank's majority stake in the group.

However, it is now focusing on its B2B operation, which mainly supplies banks and mobile network operators with consultancy and development services in the area of mobile payment and mobile commerce.

The deal with M-Net will see the group developing further partnerships for establishing mobile payment services throughout the Middle East.

The two consortia will cooperate in two main areas - a project to set up infrastructure to support mobile payment services in Kuwait and the provision of strategic consultancy, business development, technical support and the adaptation of software.

Their cooperation will see paybox employees being moved to Kuwait.
It also includes a licence agreement that will see patented paybox technology, software and brand rights for Kuwait and other designated markets in the region transferred to M-Net.

The group plans to launch payment services in Kuwait in mid-2004. H8-6

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