With the increasing influence of telcos in this industry e.g. M-Pesa from Safaricom, Zap from Airtel, MTN Mobile Money, it is obvious that Western Union is steadily losing its market share in the global money transfer services industry.
According to Ericsson, the partnership enables other mobile network operators using its infrastructure to easily include Western Union Mobile Money Transfers in the service suite of their mobile financial service offers.
"Our business ambition is to accelerate access and interconnection between the m-commerce eco-system and the existing financial world. Through this agreement with Western Union, we are helping mobile network operators and financial institutions get closer to their customers with differentiated wallet services that connect and add value to their consumers," Ericsson’s president and CEO Hans Vestberg told journalists at the mobile congress on Tuesday.
The first step of the partnership will be the integration of Western Union's Mobile Money Transfer Network and Ericsson’s suite of M-Commerce platform to allow mobile network operators operating on Ericsson’s network to launch mobile financial services. The rollout is expected to begin in June.
“Today more than 40 per cent of the world's mobile traffic goes through Ericsson networks and we support customers' networks servicing more than 2 billion subscribers,” he said.
“By joining forces with Western Union for these services, mobile operators can connect their accounts easily and simply to the world's premier money transfer network of more than 450,000 Agent locations across 200 countries and territories,” said Ms Scott.
Western Union already has a partnership agreement with Safaricom's M-Pesa in Kenya, which allows Kenyans in more than 45 countries to send money through the service. This new partnership with Ericsson will put Western Union in direct competition with Safaricom's M-Pesa and Airtel's Zap.