Dublin/Cape Town, 19th October 2006 – Jinny Software, a leading global supplier of messaging and media processing platforms to mobile network operators, today announced that it is supplying a leading Southern African mobile network operator with a mobile banking enabling solution aimed at increasing the accessibility of ‘on-line-style’ banking to members of the population without Internet access.
Jinny enables mobile banking services based on USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), for operators and banks, in regions where a large proportion of the mobile subscriber base is equipped with legacy models of handset, rather than the most up-to-date 2.5G and 3G phones. USSD-enabled services can be used on any type of mobile phone and, therefore, service penetration is not dependent on the take-up of high-end devices that are often expensive. USSD-enabled banking services are, as a result, more attainable for most African mobile subscribers.
The Jinny solution is comprised of a message router and USSD technology, the latter delivering a GSM service that allows high-speed interactive communication between subscribers and applications across a GSM network. USSD is a session-oriented service – the request and response happen as a 2-way communication – making it faster and better suited for interactive services than SMS, which is a one-way communication service. The service looks similar to WAP and SMS, but the benefits of USSD over both WAP and SMS are significant, as it can offer immediate warranty delivery, is easier to use, it works while roaming and is inexpensive for subscribers to use.
Globally, USSD is becoming widely accepted as the ideal channel for services such as mobile information, mobile commerce, mobile entertainment and any service that requires interaction between the user and the application, such as mobile banking.
Sixty percent of the world’s leading financial institutions have a wireless strategy and consider mobile or wireless banking as a core element of their service delivery plans. Wireless banking is a very attractive option for both banks and their clients as banks rationalise branches, and look at how they can increase their customer base in geographical areas where banks previously have not been located. Banks & Mobile operators are creating partnerships to exploit the resultant opportunities. These facts, combined with the explosive growth of prepaid cellular services in Africa, mean that this region is ripe for mobile banking solutions.
Commenting on African mobile banking solutions, Max Wilkie, CEO of Jinny Software, says, “Mobile data services, such as applications that enable mobile banking, are an example of convergence and convergent messaging – an area in which Jinny specialises. Mobile devices and services are evolving to perform and deliver many of the services currently only available through the Internet. Online banking’s progression to mobile banking is an example of this.
“In the emerging markets of Africa, mobile banking has a very strong possibility of becoming a primary channel to banking, due to the affordability of USSD transactions over voice calls and the relatively high mobile penetration compared to low Internet accessibility experienced by much of the population,” Wilkie concludes.