Telenor chief demonstrates mobile payment service with bank bosses

Telenor is jumping on the mobile payments train with a service called Valyou that it said is already accepted by 400 retailers in its domestic market.

Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Sparebank1 CEO Kirsten Idebøen,  and DNB's CEO Rune Bjerke

(L-R) Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas, SpareBank1 MD Kirsten Idebøen, and DMB CEO Rune Bjerke

The Norway-headquartered operator's CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, demonstrated the contactless payment system with the CEOs of banks DNB and SpareBank1 Group, Telenor's partners in Valyou. The company said that the service is now being deployed commercially, and that it is signing up between 10 and 20 new retailers per day.

Rune Bjerke, CEO of DNB, said the service can be used "in Norway and abroad." Telenor revealed the service is a joint venture, with DNB owning 42.5 per cent, Telenor 42.5 per cent, and SpareBank1 15 per cent. The company will be operated by DNB and Telenor.

Despite the fanfare, Valyou is initially only available in Google Play's mobile app store and appears to only work with Visa credit cards at present. The service is also only available to customers of DNB and Telenor, and those users must request a new SIM card to access it.

SpareBank1 customers will gain access to Valyou in 2015, with other banks also due to sign up next year, Telenor revealed.

Baksaas is, of course, confident the service will take off regardless of the above limitations. "Some innovations immediately become the obvious choice for the future. This is the case for contactless payment through your mobile--it's just a matter of time before we are all using our mobile phones to pay."

The Telenor chief added that the company wants "other mobile operators to also provide this service," to ensure "all Norwegians enjoy this solution".

A growing number of European operators now offer a range of mobile payment and financial services, though consumer uptake has been slow to-date.

Among the most recent announcements are the launch of a mobile banking service by Orange Poland, UK operator EE expanding its Cash on Tap contactless mobile payment service throughout London's public transport network, and the high-profile launch of Apple Pay in September.

In October, Amsterdam-based payment technology company Adyen ranked Europe as the world's leading region for mobile payment services during the third quarter. The company said European mobile payment transactions accounted for 24 per cent of total online payments in the quarter compared to 17 per cent in Asia Pacific, the second-largest region for mobile payments.

For more:
- see this Telenor announcement
- view Adyen's mobile payment figures

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