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TMCNet:  Telecom operator calls for boosting e-gov't services

[February 15, 2013]

Telecom operator calls for boosting e-gov't services

AMMAN, Feb 15, 2013 (Jordan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Zain Jordan on Thursday called for boosting e-government services that enable customers to use their mobiles to make payments, saying such services will increase both government and telecom firms' revenues.

"There is a need for partnerships between the government, telecom operators and other utilities to increase reliance on mobile payments," Zain Jordan CEO Ahmad Al Hanandeh said on Thursday.

Hanandeh noted that around 70 per cent of Jordanians do not have bank accounts, while the majority of citizens own a mobile.

"Increasing the number of services that enable users to pay through their mobiles will increase the revenues of telecom operators and eventually the government as it deducts taxes and fees from the operators," he added.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission's latest statistics show that there were an estimated 8.7 million mobile subscriptions across the country, with national mobile penetration reaching 138 per cent.

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology recently said that Jordanians sent more than one million SMSs in 2012 to inquire about public services via the e-government programme.

"This number is below expectations and very moderate. There is a need for enhancing legislation that helps increase the number of services that citizens can use and pay for via mobile," Hanandeh said.

"The number of mobile users is growing at a fast pace in Jordan, therefore, it is very important that the government facilitates the provision of more services that enable mobile holders to conduct financial transactions via their devices," he added.

Noting that mobile payment services in Jordan are still premature, he stressed the need to prepare the necessary infrastructure.

Zain's E-mal, launched in January 2011, had been adopted by more than 50,000 customers by the end of 2012, according to Hanandeh.

The mobile technology-based banking service enables subscribers to make money transfers to other Zain customers across the Kingdom by sending an SMS. The recipient can cash the money at any of Zain's 12,000 dealers and sub-dealers across Jordan, with transactions limited to JD2,500 per year.

___ (c)2013 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at www.jordantimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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