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Korean card issuers plan MVNOs in bid to control mobile wallets

Two of Korea’s leading card issuers are seeking to launch their own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services, in a bid to ensure they are in control of their customers’ mobile wallets.

CONTROL: Issuers BC Card and Shinhan Card want to set up their own MVNOs

CONTROL: Issuers BC Card and Shinhan Card want to set up their own MVNOs

Leading Korean card issuers BC Card and Shinhan Card have plans to introduce their own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services in a direct bid to own control of their customers’ mobile wallets, according to a report in The Korea Times.

Until now, MVNOs have not been permitted in Korea. But a bill to legalize them has been drafted by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and could become law by the end of this month, leading to speculation that a number of companies are looking to launch their own services.

MVNOs are not the only option being looked at by Korea’s card issuers, however. Hana Financial Group, for example, is working with SK Telecom on a deal that will see the two companies launching a jointly owned credit card company.

“MVNOs won’t have a prayer of prying away subscribers from existing wireless carriers in the traditional way,” an official from KCC’s telecommunications policy bureau told The Korea Times. “However, there are a lot of possibilities, such as developing new mobile financial services on new handsets and also introducing data services that take advantage of their strengths in their traditional business sectors.”

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