UAE operator Etisalat announced the launch of a point-of-sale (POS) service for small and medium businesses called Mobile Cashier, which enables businesses to accept card payments from their customers anywhere in the UAE. The service transforms merchants’ phones or tablets into business-grade point-of-sale terminals, enabling them to accept debit, credit and prepaid cards in a secure and simple-to-use environment.
Mobile Cashier includes bundled point-of-sale terminals, mobile voice and data plans, a free smartphone every year, and zero-percent bank commission. Users need to download the application on their smartphone and connect a pocket-sized card reader, and then they can start accepting payments in retail stores or on the go.
The entry-level plan starts at AED 119.00 (US $32.39) per month. In addition, customers can opt for the monthly bundled Essential plans, which include zero-percent bank commission, local and international minutes, mobile internet, intra-company calling, and a free smartphone every year. The Essential plans start at AED 199.00 (US $54.17) per month.
This mobile POS service from Etisalat is a good example of a type of value-added service that does not have to come from an MNO but is the very thing for an MNO to offer. In other words, Etisalat is creating a valuable new opportunity for itself to derive some revenue from a fast-growing technology that depends on mobile connectivity but is not necessarily branded by mobile operators. By creating its own POS system and providing customers with the hardware they need to use it, Etisalat is positioning itself to profit not only from the data used in POS transactions but, more so, from the monthly tariffs involved.
We feel this is a savvy way for the operator to strengthen its relationship with SMBs. Not only should it help upsell existing SMB customers to Mobile Cashier, but with the addition of the Essential suite of plans, it should be able to attract new SMBs to Etisalat. For businesses looking for a complete package, the Essential plans offer what appears to be just that—voice, data, free devices, and intra-company calling, as well as the Mobile Cashier functionality. And the price increase over the basic Mobile Cashier service is not very high. Finally, the agreements that Etisalat must have reached with the banks to be able to extend a no-commission offer must have cost the operator something, but if the offer proves a good enough selling point, it will have been well worth it.