Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is reportedly researching whether the money transfer business will help the phonemaker retain its customers. The Canadian company has started a pilot project with PT Bank Permata (BNLI), an Indonesian bank partly owned by Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (LON:STAC). This application will allow users of Blackberry Messenger Service to transfer money to their contacts over BBM, according to the interviews of both company executives.
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is making an effort to curb users inclination towards Whatsapp and other rival services, and has targeted Indonesia, where Blackberry holds leading market share, as the first country with a population of 249 million. If Blackberry launches this service then it will come in direct competition wth The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) and Moneygram International Inc (NYSE:MGI).
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The trial is only available for mobile phones of Indonesia and only Blackberry 5, 6 or 7 generation devices can access the service. The service will not be available for the latest Blackberry 10. The latest Blackberry 10 will be launched in Asia in the following week. There is no confirmation about the launch date of Z10 model in Indonesia.
“It’s tough to get into the market as you’ve got a lot of competition and there are a lot of compliance and logistics issues,” said Larry Berlin, an analyst at First Analysis Corp. in Chicago. “Could it be the right play if people like the phones? Yeah, but it’s not going to be easy.”
Blackberry subscribers declined from 80 million to 79 million all over the world at the end of the last quarter and sales declined 47 percent from a year earlier. There is, however, no information regarding the customer base in Indonesia. There are more than 60 million BBM customers worldwide, which implies that out of every 4 Blackberry users, three users are Blackberry messenger subscribers who use its free instant messaging services.
“If they want to do the payment, they just go into BBM Money and they transfer in a simple way as if they were chatting,” he said yesterday in a telephone interview from Jakarta. “We want to put financial activities into customers’ habits because BlackBerry Messenger is becoming like the culture here for people to communicate”, said Bianto Surodjo, head of electronic channels at the Jakarta-based bank.
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) (now Blackberry) has added video to the messaging services and is planning to come up with BBM money, which will no longer keep its BBM service in just chat service category.