Singtel is set to connect its Singapore mobile payments service with commercial offerings from associates and partners across Asia, in a bid to create a pan-Asian network of wallet services.

After linking partner operators to its Open Platform, the company said consumers from across the region would be able to use their existing wallet services to make seamless retail payments in any other country with a participating brand.

The first tie-up is scheduled for completion in mid-2018 with Thailand’s AIS, where regulatory clearance had already been secured. Singtel estimates 1.5 million people travel between Singapore and Thailand every year and – as a result of the link – users of Singtel’s Dash wallet and AIS-affiliated Rabbit Line Pay will be able to make payments across 20,000 merchants in the two countries.

In the second half of the year, Singtel aims to expand the service to countries served by associates, subject to relevant regulatory approvals. Potential partners include Indian operator Bharti Airtel, Globe Telecom in the Philippines and Indonesia market leader Telkomsel.

Fragmented ecosystem
Singtel’s international operations CEO Arthur Lang said its scheme would help address the fragmented payments industry in much of Asia.

“As a group, we believe we can bring about change through our cross-border interoperable platform and collaboration with like-minded partners,” Lang added.

“Our vision is to unlock the growth potential of mobile payments in the region by providing customers with a convenient, seamless experience and helping small merchants widen their reach to millions of consumers.”

In addition to its affiliated companies, Singtel is a member of the Bridge Alliance of operators, which includes CSL in Hong Kong, Maxis in Malaysia, MobiFone in Vietnam, SoftBank in Japan, Optus in Australia, CTM in Macau, Saudi Telecom Company and Taiwan Mobile.

Singtel’s announcement follows statements made by Lang in December 2017 outlining the company’s goal of striking partnerships to boost its wallet services outside Singapore.