Telenor, TeliaSonera and Tele2 have chosen Amdocs to supply an ambitious new platform for their recently rebranded payments-based joint venture called Strex.
The three operators have been offering an SMS-based payment service since 1999 which, in 2012, they formalised into a company called mPayment. They then rebranded it to Strex in December 2014 and appointed a new CEO called Hege Kosberg.
The new platform is part of the same revamp and will consolidate the operators’ multiple SMS-based payments systems into one, so that the three operators can offer a single mobile wallet to end users, with a number of funding and payment options.
Strex is mainly used in situations where there is no point-of-sale terminal available — for instance paying for parking, digital goods or TV voting. In fact, half of the country’s population has used the service at one time or other (most without realising who runs it, say the operators).
The announcement says the new wallet will also enable P2P money transfer and bill payment.
With the platform, users will be able to top up their wallet from their bank account, credit or debit card. In addition, they can add purchases to their mobile bills.
Strex says it currently handles “more than 75 million” SMS-based transactions per year, plus an increasing number of payments via internet and apps.
The new platform is also intended to enable those with older devices still to make mobile payments — it will work with SMS, web, USSD — in addition to apps.
TeliaSonera is currently bidding to acquire Tele2, a deal which would consolidate the Norwegian mobile market, as well as combine two Strex shareholders. However, the proposal has run into opposition from the country’s telecoms regulator.