KCell to Sell Card Readers to Raise Services Income

KCell JSC, the Kazakh unit of Swedish operator TeliaSonera AB, plans to start selling mobile card payment-processing terminals as it seeks to boost service profits amid a decline in income from traditional voice traffic.

“In the third quarter you will see new products launched by KCell, including a KCell-branded mobile card reader with a smartphone application,” Chief Executive Officer Ali Agan said in a phone interview today.

The services will target businesses, especially small merchants who can use a smartphone to process payments, Agan said. Mobile financial services are one of KCell’s priorities this year and in 2015, he said.

KCell competes with three operators in the central Asian nation of 17 million. The company started selling Apple Inc.’s iPhones in May, giving it a competitive advantage as revenue from non-voice services grew “rapidly” in the first half, according to a company presentation today.

Kazkommertsbank JSC, Kazakhstan’s largest lender, has sold 1,200 mobile terminals since December, identifying an opportunity after regulators demanded businesses accept non-cash payments. Kazkommertsbank’s service works with all mobile operators, and the lender plans to use KCell’s retail network to boost unit sales, it said by e-mail today.

(Corrects story published yesterday to remove size of non-voice services growth in fourth paragraph.)
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