MasterCard (NYSE: MA ) announced yesterday that it has partnered with Russian-based global telecom provider VimpelCom (NASDAQ: VIP ) to develop a mobile payments technology for banked and underserved people.
Given that, in many parts of the world, mobile communication is more pervasive than ownership of a bank account, the partnership seeks to provide VimpelCom's 212 million customers in 18 countries with quick, convenient, and secure ways to pay locally and remotely.
While key markets have been identified for the roll-out of mobile money services, Italy will be the first program to launch in 2013 with a prepaid program in Italy for Wind Italy's customers in partnership with CartaLIS.
MasterCard's president of strategic alliances at MasterCard Europe, Hany Fam, was quoted in the press release as saying, "Multiple access devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets mean that consumers' behavior is dramatically evolving worldwide. By partnering with VimpelCom, one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications services operators, MasterCard is addressing mobile payments that will replace cash in the day-to-day life of millions of people and drive financial inclusion across the globe."
MasterCard and VimpelCom said they intend to bring secure and flexible solutions that answer consumers' and merchants' payment needs wherever they are in the world.