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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - WING set to cover all of Cambodia

WING set to cover all of Cambodia

Mobile phone electronic payment service, which just turned one year old, says it will cover Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri from next week, the last provinces to gain full access to WING

We don't have concrete plans [to partner with new mobile-phone operators] at this stage."

THE mobile money transfer system WING will operate fully in Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri provinces by the end of the month, Managing Director Brad Jones said Monday, giving the service full coverage in the Kingdom for the first time.

Having launched one year ago, WING will allow customers to “cash out” for the first time in the two provinces from next week, Jones said.

Previously WING users could transfer money there on the service’s four partner mobile operators – Hello, qb, Smart Mobile and Mfone – but could not collect the money.

“This week we have people who are setting up Wing cash X-press outlets in Rattanakiri and Modulkiri which now gives us access to every province in Cambodia,” Jones told the Post.

He added that the expansion was the result of a A$1.5 million (US$975,000) grant from the Australian government (via Ausaid) made last year.

“We have been using that [Ausaid] grant to actually further development of WING to provincial areas” Jones said.

WING, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANZ Bank, formally launched its operation in the kingdom on January 21 last year.

Jones said that during the first year of operations, WING had gained 85,000 users, adding that the growth rate of its users was increasing.

“In the first month, we put on maybe 4,000 to 5,000 customers. In our last month, we put on close to 20,000 customers,” he said, adding that the network aspect of the WING business model meant growth would rise at an increasing rate.

“To use WING, you need to have your friend or family on WING, so as more and more people start to use WING, it becomes more useful for people who are already WING’s customers,” he said.

The electronic payment service had also benefited from a rising number of mobile providers signing up over the past 12 months, the latest being Mfone in October.

“Smart Mobile is pleased on the results of the partnership since the launch,” CEO Thomas Hundt said by email Monday.

The two companies started to work together from the start of August.

It remained unclear how much revenue WING had generated in its first 12 months of operations.

Jones declined to give a breakdown of financial results Monday. “We don’t disclose the actual figure in terms of what’s been transacted, but I can tell you … [there has been] significant growth month on month in both the volume of transactions we have and the value of transactions.”

WING is completely dependent on coverage by its four mobile partners, Jones admitted, given that transactions are conducted by mobile phone.

WING is not available with Mobitel, the country’s mobile leader in terms of market share, or on Metfone, which is understood to cover the largest area of any mobile service in the Kingdom.

The Vietnamese operator’s Cambodia CEO Nguyen Duy Tho told the Post in October that by the end of November last year, Metfone had been due to cover between 90 and 95 percent of the Kingdom’s population of about 14 million people.

“If there isn’t coverage of that particular network, but there is coverage for Hello, they might borrow someone’s phone who is on Hello, and use the WING service,” Jones said, adding that most people would have a SIM card with one of the four operators working with WING.

Cambodia’s mobile-phone users are notorious for posessing a selection of SIM cards in a bid to make the most of tariffs that have become increasingly competitive as new mobile phone companies have entered the market.

WING had held discussions with other operators, he added, but “we don’t have concrete plans at this stage”.

“We’re not actively looking to partner with them,” he added.

Mobitel, which is wholly owned by the Royal Group, the joint-venture partner with ANZ in ANZ Royal Bank, is understood to be developing its own mobile money transfer network.

Jones said he recognised that another mobile operator was looking to set up a rival mobile payment system and that “we welcome the competition in this market”.

He added that he had not had discussions with Mobitel with which WING “are unlikely to work with”. Mobitel was going in its “own direction”, Jones said.

By not working with the market leader, it was important that WING build a strong customer and provider base, he said.

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