Kolkata: Vodafone India and ICICI Bank on Wednesday launched M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer and payment service, in West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

A nationwide rollout is expected within a year-and-a-half. Using M-Pesa, a mobile wallet service, customers can transfer money to any mobile phone in India and remit money to any bank account in the country.

"Mobile technology has a critical role to play in servicing the unbanked and under-serviced sections of the society and we are delighted to introduce this platform in India in partnership with ICICI Bank," Vodafone India Managing Director and Chief Executive Marten Pieters said in Kolkata.

Pieters said the new product would target migrant labourers as the country has 30 crore such workers and most of them belong to the eastern part of the country.

According to him, the mobile wallet service would be cost-effective in rural India compared to banks as setting up of new bank branches require huge infrastructural costs."We see a very good future for the product," Pieters said, adding India was the eighth country where the company was launching this service.

ICICI Bank Executive Director Rajiv Sabharwal said the service was in line with the bank's objective of achieving greater financial inclusion."We are very happy with the partnership with Vodafone as the tie-up will effectively leverage the security of financial transactions provided to customers by us and the strength of the telecom major's significant distribution reach," Sabharwal added.


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