Responsible Finance Forum

Implementing mobile money interoperability in Indonesia

Gunnar Camner
Source:  GSMA
 Gates Foundation
 MasterCard Foundation
 Omidyar Network

On May 15, 2013, Indonesia’s three major mobile operators—Telkomsel, Indosat and XL—went live with a ground-breaking initiative that enabled their mobile money customers to send and receive money across each other’s networks. This was a milestone in the mobile money industry. for the first time, mobile money platforms run by mobile operators could talk to each other—account to account, or “walletto- wallet”—in real time.

In most countries with mobile money deployments, money sent to a customer on a different mobile network generates a voucher that can only be cashed out at an agent in the sender’s network. Sending money “off-net” results in a cash-out, missing the opportunity to trigger additional electronic transactions. Until recently, mobile money customers in Indonesia were in the same boat.

However, the three main operators in Indonesia announced a new development in May 2013 to change this. Today, a mobile money customer can use the money in their e-wallet not only to pay a bill, buy airtime or transfer money to another customer in their network, but also to send money directly to an account, or m-wallet, in a mobile money scheme of another network.

In this case study, MMU provides a snapshot of the implementation of mobile money interoperability in Indonesia–specifically, how it came to be that three independent mobile operators worked together to make real-time transfers across their mobile money deployments a reality.