The country’s biggest telecommunications company, Bharti Airtel, on Tuesday said it plans to roll out its payments bank network in the second half of the current financial year, as the operator moves to expand services offering to its more than 250 million subscribers beyond mobile telephone services.
As part of the plans, the New Delhi-based company also announced that the new venture would now be called Airtel Payments Bank Ltd, after receiving required approvals from all authorities including the Reserve Bank of India. The venture was earlier known as Airtel M-Commerce Services.
“With Airtel’s deep distribution network that touches every corner of the country, we believe that Airtel Payments Bank is uniquely placed to deliver quality banking services to customers by leveraging the power of mobile telephony,” Gopal Vittal, managing director for Bharti Airtel’s India and South Asian operations, said in a statement.
Bharti Airtel aims to leverage its subscriber network and vast distribution network for its payments bank operations.
Originally launched in 20111 as Airtel M-Commerce Services, Bharti already offers financial services including money transfers and semi-closed wallet service, Airtel Money, in about 800 towns in the country.
Apart from that, Bharti Airtel has a vast distribution network of 1.5 million outlets covering almost 87% of the country’s population, the company said.
Bharti Airtel is the majority owner in Airtel Payments Bank, while Kotak Mahindra Bank owns a 19.9% stake which it purchased for Rs 98.8 crore. Kotak Mahindra Bank will provide banking expertise to Airtel Payments Bank venture, the statement said.