|| (PARIS – May 4, 2001) – ZIP Telecom Holdings, the principal sponsor of India’s leading public access telephone and Internet service, and Upaid Systems, the developers of the Upaid digital payment platform, announce the formation of a joint venture company, “Xius Technologies Limited.” Through a license agreement with Upaid Systems, Xius will use the patented Upaid real-time payment and settlement management software to enable a new Xius-branded digital payment standard for all prepaid communications and Internet-based transactions in India.
Moving beyond traditional credit cards, which offer wealthy consumers “plastic money”, Xius’ prepaid payment standard will enable Indian consumers at all levels, traveling anywhere, to engage in all types of communications and Internet services. Xius plans to use the Upaid software to enable service providers to offer their customers prepaid telephony services including prepaid wireless roaming, financial and prepaid mobile commerce (m-commerce) services.
The company will initially target wireless service providers, offering them a real-time payment and settlement solution for India’s rapidly expanding mobile telephony and m-commerce sectors. Xius will then focus on providers of fixed line telephony to enable prepaid long distance calling cards and finally, on financial institutions to launch prepaid services, including e-commerce cards and other e-banking and financial services.
G. V. Kumar, CEO of Xius stated, "Mobile telecommunications including m-commerce is a new and exciting business that is taking off in India. Our strategy is to have over 80 percent of the wireless market offering Xius-enabled services by the end of September 2001. Xius will usher in prepaid roaming for the first time in India and will position itself as the prepaid roaming platform provider, offering comprehensive settlement support to operators as well as new value-added services to prepaid wireless customers."
Simon Joyce, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Upaid Systems added, "The Indian market represents one of the most potentially lucrative
prepaid markets in the world today. By first targeting wireless operators with our prepaid roaming payment solution, we will benefit from easy, rapid entry into this open field and from the quick revenue opportunities it offers."
Already, over 50 percent of all new wireless subscribers worldwide chose prepaid payment options. India, with a credit card penetration rate of a mere .003 per capita, is already a major center of prepaid services. High growth markets in Asia, Latin America and parts of Europe, where a substantial proportion of the population may not have easy access to bank accounts or credit cards, offer some of the most rapid growth opportunities for the rich menu of prepaid services enabled by the Upaid platform – whether in the field of telephony, Internet access or e- and m-commerce.
Upaid is a leading-edge communications software pioneer providing state-of-the-art payment, transfer and settlement solutions for advanced roaming and financial transaction processing.
Upaid enables wireless communications carriers, mobile Internet operators and financial & application service providers to offer innovative solutions to end-users for preauthorized communications services such as prepaid voice and data, prepaid roaming, mail and messaging, m-commerce, m-banking, person-to-person cash transfer and micro-payments. Upaid’s turn-key solutions are 2G/2.5G-based, engineered for 3G evolution and give mobile consumers more choice and better value for money.
The company has operations in Europe, India, the Americas and Asia. Upaid™ is a trademark of Upaid Systems, Ltd. For more information, visit www.upaid.net.
About ZIP Telcom
ZIP Telecom is a ZIP Telecom Holdings, AIG and Anderson and Weinroth company, a private equity investment group based in New York. The company franchises its proprietary “ZIPFone” to location owners while profiting from both revenue sharing agreements with operators and electronic advertising. Many leading companies such as Coke and Colgate are already advertising on ZIPFones. ZIP Telecom is also pioneering the new "ZIP Payphone Business Model" which challenges the traditional relationship between telephone companies and subscribers by making the
relationship a business-to-business relationship. The company, besides operating about 13,000 franchisee locations in India, is also rapidly expanding globally and has recently signed a contract with a leading Indonesian telecom to create 75,000 ZIPfone Franchisee locations in Indonesia over the next 2 years. ZIP Telecom holds the patent for both the “ZIPFone” and the unique “ZIP Payphone Business Model” in many countries. The company has been valued at US $110 Million in its current round of funding.