Telefonica announced a joint venture with MasterCard to “lead the development of mobile financial solutions in 12 countries in Latin America where Telefonica is present with the Movistar brand.” The 50/50 joint venture will “leverage banking relationships of both companies, Telefonica’s telecommunications assets and MasterCard’s payments expertise.” The agreement will enable customers to use devices for person-to-person money transfers, bill payments, mobile airtime reload and retail purchases, although a timescale for product launches was not provided. In a statement, Telefonica described the initiative as “a step toward achieving financial inclusion for the underserved in Latin America – positively impacting its economic development.”

Earlier this week, MasterCard announced the appointment of Mung-Ki Woo as Group Executive, Mobile, to lead its “innovation, commercialisation and development of go-to-market strategies to support mobile payments around the world.” Woo was previously VP of electronic payments and transactions at Orange, where he led the development of the “Orange Money” mobile payment service, which is commercially available in “several African countries.”