By Andy Sambidge
UAE telecom giant to offer service to Indian expats initially but has plans to expand.
UAE telecom giant Etisalat is set to introduce a new service to allow expatriates to send money home using their mobile phone.
Etisalat has partnered with Citibank to set up the programme for Indian expats initially with plans to expand the service to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt in the coming months, UAE daily The National reported on Sunday.
“We are making it available for our Indian subcontinent customers to send money to their relatives in India,” Essa al Haddad, the group chief marketing officer of Etisalat, told the paper.
The service, which will be available later in January, will work with basic mobile phones. Etisalat did not say how much it would cost.
If the company can find suitable banking partners, it said it plans to extend the service to other countries.
Etisalat began mobile remittance trials to India and the Philippines last year with several banking partners before finalising a deal with Citibank, the paper added.
There are 1.75 million Indian nationals in the UAE, and about $52bn in remittances were transferred to India in 2008 from expatriates working across the Gulf, according to World Bank figures.