FUNDAMO Initiative to turn cell phones into mobile wallets  

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May 24 2000

South African-based Fundamo today announced its new global initiative in the multi-billion dollar arena of secure cell phone based payments and transactions. 

Fundamo, an initiative backed by Sanlam, has developed the capability to deliver a working mobile payment solution to cellular networks using existing Phase 2+ compliant technology. This means the Fundamo solution can be used on both WAP handsets (currently in limited supply) as well as Phase 2+ compliant handsets (most of the cell phones sold today). 

This mobile commerce solution is comprehensive, fully developed and available from Fundamo for immediate deployment to cellular networks. In SA alone, the technology has the ultimate potential to convert the estimated 4,5 million SA handsets into mobile wallets with anywhere and anytime access to funds. 

The ability to use a mobile wallet to make secure payments from a cell phone is a significant advance on the traditional payment system because customers would no longer need to withdraw cash for transactions or make cheque payments by post. This initiative could significantly change the way people make payments and other transactions.  

Fundamo Chief Executive Hannes van Rensburg emphasises : "The Fundamo mobile wallet solution that we have developed, in conjunction with a group of management consultants and technology partners, is a completely open platform. Our intention is to urge all local and global mobile operators, banks and system integrators to use the Fundamo technology, thereby providing interoperability across different cellular networks." 

Support of the technology would allow cellular networks and banks to offer their customers "access-in-your-hand" convenience to a broad base of payment and transaction services. These customers could soon have access to their bank or credit card accounts via their cell phones, for example.  

The Fundamo solution complements WAP because customers can conclude their transactions using a separate data channel while a WAP session is in progress. 

Fundamo's mobile payment solution integrates seamlessly with the Internet and offers cell phone to cell phone payments, as well as bill presentation and cell phone payments at retail point-of-sale. 

Comments Neil Hinrichsen, Fundamo's Head of Strategy : "Fundamo will allow mobile operators and banks to move into the area of mobile financial transaction switching for consumers. The Fundamo solution provides networks with a new source of revenue by participating in the delivery of financial access. We see this as an important area of opportunity for banks and mobile network operators - as this clearly adds significant value to their customer bases." 

Implementation and support for the Fundamo solution will be introduced through a select group of system integration partners (management consultants and technology partners). 

Hinrichsen adds, "Our view is that system integration companies are ideally positioned to deliver a working solution to mobile network operators, banks, retailers and service providers." The Fundamo technology architecture will be available to system integrators at no charge. Hinrichsen points out that Fundamo mobile payments can also be integrated into existing e-commerce and call centre applications.  

"In essence," he says, "the convergence between financial and mobile services that international IT analysts such as Durlacher, Forrester and Gartner have forecast for a number of years, is available to mobile networks on today's mobile phones using Fundamo's architecture and current technology." 

Van Rensburg concludes: "Although we have focused our initial development in SA, we are in talks with multiple partners, financial services companies and mobile networks both locally and globally. Fundamo intends to become a leader in the arena of mobile payment and transactions technology, based on mobile devices such as cell phones, and we expect to make further announcements shortly."

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