Southeast Asia’s Largest Telecom Operator Expands Mobile Wallet Services to Japan
Singapore's largest telecommunications carrier Singtel has expanded its VIA cross-border payments alliance to Japan.
VIA, the first cross-border mobile payment alliance in Asia in partnership with AIS, Thai digital bank Kasikornbank, and Boost Malaysia, is now also partnering with Tokyo-based mobile payment technology company NETSTARS, Singtel announced on Monday (18/3).
According to Reuters, the partnership with NETSTARS will allow travelers to use their home mobile wallets on Singtel’s VIA network to pay digitally at 100,000 merchants, which span airports, shopping malls, food and beverage outlets, tourist attractions and transportation modes across Japan - a popular destination for Southeast Asians.
Singtel is keen to expand beyond its traditional carrier services into areas such as digital marketing, cybersecurity, mobile payments and video streaming.
Southeast Asia, where a chunk of the 650-million population is underbanked, is becoming a crowded market for mobile payments. Singtel wants to stand out by permitting users to be able to pay with their e-wallets outside their home country.
Singtel plans to expand the mobile wallet alliance to India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
"VIA’s steady expansion has taken it beyond our associate markets, and now beyond telco e-wallets and South-east Asia," said Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group to The Business Times.
Tsuyoshi Ri, CEO of Netstars, added in the statement, “We are delighted to join the VIA alliance and collaborate with Singtel to welcome more mobile payment users from South-east Asia. Together we will bring convenience to both customers and stores as Netstars expands its store network.”