Turkcell launches new mobile wallet service

Turkcell, the major commss and technology company in Turkey, is changing consumers’ shopping habits with its new mobile wallet service, called Turkcell Cep-T Cüzdan.

With this new service based on NFC technology, those customers with NFC-enabled mobile phones will be able to turn their phones into a credit card, a toll pass card, or even a concert ticket.

Mario Fernandez, research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, commented: “Turkcell was one of the first mobile operators of Middle East and Africa interested in NFC technology. Back to 2009, the company partnered with Akbank to carry out a NFC trial in Istanbul. But probably the rapidness of Avea to launch a NFC service took Turkcell by surprise in December 2010.

“Turkcell’s latest NFC offering is perceived as a strategic response, which will benefit not only Turkcell itself but also Avea, and indeed the NFC services market in Turkey, one of the most developed to date. With more NFC offerings in the Turkish market, the awareness about the benefits of the technology among users will increase, thus, facilitating the introduction of further NFC offerings.”

Fernandez stated that the lack of a basic banking infrastructure in Africa and innovative offerings developed by mobile operators resulted in a high uptake of mobile payments. While Turkey is, to some extent, also a developing country, mobile payments, and in particular NFC technology, are not being offered as an alternative to banking services, he noted. Fernandez said the target market of Turkish mobile operators is young people living in urban areas with the need of a fast and easy to use payment method.

“Turkish mobile operators have found out that by collaborating with banks and capitalising on the fun interaction and entertainment value of NFC, the technology can be successfully commercialised,” Fernandez explained. “A key aspect that has also facilitated the introduction of NFC services in Turkey is the relatively well established infrastructure of contactless POS terminals. According to unofficial sources, the country has over 40,000 terminals that accept MasterCard PayPass technology.”