Mobilink launches Genie – mobile payment system powered by inov8

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About a week ago Mobilink launched Genie – an exclusive mobile payments system using technology that was provided by Inov8 in Lahore over the past year or so.

Right now, it seems you can use genie to pay utility bills, Indigo bills and also buy credit for Jazz. From the how-to page it seems you can currently link Genie to either Citibank Credit Cards or to KASB bank, but more banks are planned soon.

From a business point-of-view, Mobilink has played a smart move here – as the telecom industry gradually kills off voice and starts to find more innovative and culturally relevant value-added-services for consumers, having control over a payment system backbone will be a significant advantage. Next they would have to invest in a RAD platform for Value-added-services and unleash it on our growing community of entrepreneurs and a spike in innovative third-party applications (similar to what has happened recently with Facebook) is likely to result.

The idea would be that if a would-be entrepreneur or college student can spend about a month to build a useful service using simplified tools and can immediately tap into a potential 20MM+ userbase, that is a lucrative platform to connect to.

In what future plethora of third-party telecom value-added-services that may result, inov8 will possibly get a share of each transaction. Smart moves.

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29 Comments

  • I think the Mobilink Genie introduced by Mobilink would not be successful and the reason is that this application simply can’t capture the larger market share, because of the dependency of the application on Java and GPRS enabled hand set + Genie Charges + GPRS charges + Bill Payment/Transaction charges + only approx 5% population is literate enough to use the application.

  • Meher, your arguments are valid for commodity products, however If Mobilink placed Genie as lifestyle product, things might change a lot.

  • Yes i think Meher is correct, also i want to mention that a lot of security risk will be involved, as no one would like to give his secue information like credit card number on air/GPRS.

  • telenor best and well experienced network.
    ufone also have good experience and ufone always remained cheapest network but ufone have slow and old network.

    warid admin have money only and empty brains no expereiance

    mobilink always in to snatch customers money

    paktel making good progress

    insta phone cdma tech ppl dont liking as cellular use

    SCO also good gsm network of pakistan.

  • My names are Okia innocent,i was trying to requet for internet settings on my phone the type of my phone is sam sung E-530 and my phone number is 0702454202

  • Sheraz Ahmed

    I think that Mobilink Genie will not take any secure information for example credit card numbers/back account information online. Because no one is going to give all these details to buy products. Secondly, I just give an idea to Genie building team that when the user register itself for Genie application. The Genie must connect with all the banks to get the accounts details to give the facility for the user that the user must not give any details related to credit card numbers/bank accounts but just sign in as normal application user and when it purchases any thing it just select a account for payment.

  • I’m a bit late in reading this post. Today, in the dawn’s special section on banking expo in Karachi, there’s an ad by one Paybox (www.paybox.net.pk). From the ad content it looks like to be the answer to our wait. anyone have info on it ?

  • Shut ur mouth! Time shall speak …

  • Deep @ Nadia

  • Genie is in fact a lifestyle product and it is as secure as a financial assistant should be..and even more. It does not require the user to provide any sensitive info like CC number or even your bank account number for that matter. Also whatever information the user provides is transmitted on a very secure protocol and is not at all likely to be tempered because security is ONE major concern for genie guys and they worked pretty hard on that.This is the beauty of the product that u get ur transactions done without even giving away ur card numbers n stuff. One more thing…if u r out to use a product like that i dont think the GPRS charges matter that much and the minimal services charges are worth paying for to use something this hi-tech..also, this is something u could use on as low end a cell phone as a nokia 6030..so no high end phone sets are required

  • Mobile Commerce Private Limited is the company which has provided all the seed money and given birth to this product developed by Inov8. Credit should also be given where its due Inov8 did not develop the product as promised to its sponsors who are also the marketing partners in the venture. No mention of Mobile Commerce fully owned subsidary of Hascombe Business Solutions seems inappropiate in this regards.

    Too many bugs in the product to be trusted as the payment engine is manual behind the scenes.

  • @Insider:

    WTF is a “manual” engine? :) Hamster powered payment system or something?
    If the MCPL scenario is as you have described it to be ,why is Mobile Commerce Private Limited laying low and taking all this beating? given they have provided all the seed money then they must have some power / say with how Inov8 functions.
    Suggestion: get rid of that hangover before you post, you retard.

  • I started using MCB Bank’s online banking facility right on the day it was launched. I used it to pay my postpaid bills and everything. And it was a truly amazing experience, until one night at 2 o’clock at night I thought of paying my bill – and it didn’t get paid! I grew curious and tried it again at 8 o’clock one night, and still same failure. I tried it again after office hours several time and everytime the same result. And therefore I could safely deduce that it was just a hamster powered “e-Banking”. So if MCB can do that, I wouldn’t have problem with Mobilink’s Genie doing so!

    Anyway why will I want to pay so much extra for a simple banking feature which I can do either online anyway (in office hours) or by walking to a nearest ATM machine?

  • And Osama, where are you marketing this blog? How come we have so many ladies commenting on articles?

    *let me grab my tie.

  • Could anyone highlight all the services this dashing Genie is offering? Is Genie just offering payments of utility bills?

  • Is mobilink genie working for anyone? I’ve tried several people (Mobilink customers) try to register but they don’t receive response from short code. We don’t even know how the software works and which phones. What are GPRS charges? Is there a phone list somewhere? Please reply.

    On separate thread, there is a rumor the service was launched without regulatory approval from PTA or SBP and it has been blocked. That will explain the silence response from short codes.

    Definitely a great initiative in its area.

  • I have tried the sms on 1610 and did get a reply. At first I got a message that GPRS was unavailable but now that I have my GPRS activated, I tried again and got this a Genie ID. I am a KASB account holder but have yet to get that working on Genie. Once you play around with the application and get the hang of it, its pretty cool. Will post more thoughts when I get my account working on this

  • It is confirmed the service was unfortunately blocked. I wonder what the ‘partners’ involved were thinking, not getting SBP and/or PTA approval before launching a mobile banking product. They had 18+ months between winning contracts and launching it. Reminds of the blunder another bank made by launching a stored value card some years ago without SBP approval.

    On a different note – financial innovation is so *tiny* in this country as it is. What the West did in the 70s and 80s (ACH, RTGS, etc) is still lacking in Pakistan. A service which takes money from existing bank account, and puts it into utility companies account, shouldn’t even be regulated.

  • Its the innovator’s dilemma in Pakistan. Innovations never come under law. Innovations need an environment to flourish.

  • I think its a good thing that Financial market is so much closely guarded in Pakistan, otherwise we can have examples like Swaziland which lately had a huge Internet banking account fraud (ok sorry for hurting any Pakistani’s sentiments by comparing with Swaziland)..

  • Bilal Makhdoomi

    Yup service is block at the state bank level. They are hoping to resume in about a week or so. But it’s a shame that all those Mobilink marketing rupees went to waste after building the momentum.

  • Bilal, Can you confirm the rumors of the service being resumed in a week or so time. Will appreciate if a source is quoted

  • Yes, i also heared that the Mobilink Genie is banned by State bank of pakistan and PTA

  • I use the application, its interface/GUI is too ordinary rather not good, secondly i did not like the features its offering , i am a Jazz user, and the only feature i can avail is to pay my utility bills, which i can easily pay sending my servant(for wt the servants are there to),i explore it and i came to know that to use Genie i has to have a bank account in KASB or ATLAS, or i need to have a Citi Bank credit card. I have my own account in Allied Bank why should i open my account in KASB or Atlas, its an over burden for me, why should i go for Citi bank credit card which is too expensive.

  • Inov8 has not paid it’s employees salary for last 3 months. You all must be able to realize how serious this is for resources in the times of high inflation. Management attitude has been dishonest and rude with the recources saying he who wants to resign can do it but they will not tell when they will give the salaries. What do partners like mobilink and banks think about working with a company which treats employees like this? What should the employees do?

  • Sad to hear about Inov8.

  • This company is going down. If the have not paid the employees for 3 months then it is not only shameful for Innov8 buy also for their financial and telco partners.

  • Employees should get together and sue the company and take ownership of all intellectual propety (IP). This is the best way to recoup the value of their efforts and serve the owners well; they would not be able to raise any money as well as sell to any other customer. No one would buy or deploy technology that is under litigation.

    Common is North America.

  • insider – the last comment was a personal attack and thus was moderated. Further comments on this thread are also now closed because the discussion isnt going anywhere productive

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