State-owned telecommunication operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. on Sept. 13 launched a service that enables customers who have credit cards to pay their telco bills using their mobile phones, according to a spokesperson for the India-based company.

The telco initially is launching the service in the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Participants activate the free service by registering their credit card with the company. After registering, the user receives a four-digit PIN to use to authorize transactions when using text messages and interactive voice-response services to pay their bills, according to the spokesperson.

To pay via a text message, the user sends a text message to an access number. He then will receive a message asking him to authorize the payment by entering the PIN, the spokesperson adds.

Mobile-payments provider Obopay India Pvt. Ltd. is supporting the service by providing the back-end infrastructure, according to the spokesperson. The Bangalore-based company previously reached agreements with Nokia India Pvt. Ltd. and Yes Bank Ltd. to launch in the city of Pune a pilot of the Nokia Mobile Money service.

The trial was a success, and the Reserve Bank of India granted Yes Bank permission to fully implement it (see story). 

Bharat Sanchar Nigam also wants to introduce other modes of mobile payment, including tying payments to bank and stored-value accounts, the spokesperson adds. The telco has 100 million mobile subscribers in India.

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