Under the agreement, Euronet will integrate its convenient e-top-up solution with the existing electronic cash registers (ECRs) at SMA stores, which comprises of company-managed stores branded Sma, Punto Sma, Simply and Cityper. With Euronetâs e-top-up service, SMA can sell mobile top-up minutes from all four Italian mobile operators without adding new equipment on their store counters and without the costs of holding inventory or incur losses due to theft with prepaid scratch cards. SMA is one of the first retailers in Italy to replace its existing scratch card distribution system with e-top-up.
A pilot project will be launched at select SMA stores towards the end of November with TIM, Italyâs leading mobile operator, and Euronet expects a full rollout of service for all four mobile operators in all SMA stores by first quarter 2008.
âEuronetâs proven prepaid processing services offer us a cost effective, simple and reliable e-top-up solution. SMA will be able to control its costs when offering prepaid products, yet still provide its customers with the convenient and secure service they have come to expect,â said Antonello Sinigaglia, SMA managing director. âEuronetâs state-of-the-art technology platform allows us to rapidly deploy e-top-up services for prepaid mobile airtime throughout our network and provides the opportunity to expand our offerings into other prepaid products in the future above all: gift cards and pre-paid debit cards.â
The Italian mobile phone market is one of the largest in Europe with approximately 80 million subscribers in 2006, a nearly 140 percent penetration rate. Despite the high saturation of the market, new subscriptions are still on the rise with a 13 percent growth rate in 2006. An estimated â¬13 billion in mobile top-up minutes was sold this year in Italy.
âWe are excited to enter a prepaid market the size of Italy and a partner like SMA with large retail footprint gives us immediate scale,â said Michael J. Brown, Euronet chairman and CEO. âThe global trend is towards replacing inefficient scratch cards with an electronic system to offer profitable prepaid products. Euronetâs leading e-top-up solution and strong expertise in prepaid processing makes us the provider of choice for retailers looking to update their distribution channels.â