MIAMI & MOSCOW--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Net Element International (NASDAQ: NETE), a technology-driven group specializing in electronic commerce and mobile payment processing is pleased to announce that TOT Money, Net Element's mobile payments provider for Premium SMS and Mobile Commerce in emerging markets, has taken a leadership position in Russia just six months after their debut and was ranked by Beeline as the top SMS content provider by Content-Review.com for two consecutive months. OSJC VimpelCom, a wholly owned subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE:VIP), providing services under the “Beeline” brand, is Russia’s 2nd largest telecommunications operator and is considered by The European Brand Institute as the Most Valuable Brand in Russia. TOT Money’s ascension to the top content provider ranking for December 2012 and January 2013 was preceded by a #2 ranking just one month prior.
The proliferation of smartphones in Russia is propelling huge gains in SMS Banking and it is one of the few countries where there is a market of mobile operator payments. According to J’son & Partners Consulting, in 2011 the amount of carrier payments was 6.6 billion rubles and, by 2012, this jumped 44% to 9.5 billion rubles. This growth trajectory continues unabated for 2013. They predict that by 2017 the market of mobile operator payments in Russia will exceed 40 billion rubles. All of this bodes well for TOT Money given their growing market share in a region that is enjoying tremendous growth with a population that has wholeheartedly embraced SMS services. The market’s growth is being driven by Russia’s booming mobile marketplace with more than 227 million active SIM cards.
“TOT Money is in the right place, at the right time, with the right solution and that is why we are providing payment processing services to the over 60 million subscribers of VimpelCom in Russia for their Beeline subscribers,” said Oleg Firer, CEO of Net Element. Adding, “TOT Money was expected to become a leading value-added services provider for the $1.5 billion Russian SMS payments market and the $475 million Russian mobile commerce market, and that is exactly what we have accomplished.”
SMS Banking is another growth opportunity for TOT Money. SMS banking is a type of mobile banking, a technology-enabled service offering from banks to its customers, permitting them to operate selected banking services over their mobile phones using SMS messaging. SMS banking services are operated using both push and pull messages. Push messages are those that the bank chooses to send out to a customer's mobile phone, without the customer initiating a request for the information. Pull messages are those that are initiated by the customer, using a mobile phone, for obtaining information or performing a transaction in the bank account. Push or pull, it is clear that this is another opportunity for TOT Money.
According to J'son & Partners Consulting, in 2012 in Russia, 43.4 million people used SMS-banking. By 2017, the number of users of SMS-banking is projected to increase to 84.5 million, and the percentage of people who pay for goods and services is projected to increase by 1.5 times. The increasing popularity of SMS-banking is expected.
About VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP)
OJSC VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP) is a subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd, one of the world’s largest integrated telecommunications services operators providing voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom’s operations around the globe cover territory with a total population of approximately 782 million people. VimpelCom provides services under the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", “Wind”, "Infostrada" “Mobilink”, “Leo”, “banglalink”, “Telecel”, and “Djezzy” brands. As of June 30, 2012 VimpelCom had 208 million mobile subscribers on a combined basis. VimpelCom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (VIP). For more information visit: http://www.vimpelcom.com.
About Net Element International (NASDAQ: NETE)
Net Element International (NASDAQ: NETE) is a global technology-driven group specializing in electronic commerce, mobile payments and transactional services. The company owns and operates a global mobile payments and transaction processing provider, TOT Group, as well as several popular content monetization verticals. Together with its subsidiaries, Net Element International enables ecommerce and content-management companies to monetize their assets in ecommerce and mobile commerce environments. Its global development centers and high-level business relationships in the United States, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States strategically position the company for continued growth. The company has U.S. headquarters in Miami and international headquarters in Moscow. More information is available at www.netelement.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed forward-looking statements. Words such as “goal,” “continue,” “will,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “expect,” “expected,” “plans,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, the extent to which the amount of mobile payments, the demand therefor and/or the market for mobile payments continues to increase; whether TOT Money continues to be a leading value-added services provider for the Russian SMS payments market and/or the Russian mobile commerce market; the extent that TOT Money is able to capitalize on business opportunities with SMS banking; the extent to which the demand for SMS banking continues to increase; and whether Net Element International or its business continues to grow. All forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, many of which are generally outside the control of Net Element International and are difficult to predict. Examples of such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: (i) Net Element International’s ability (or inability) to obtain additional financing in sufficient amounts or on acceptable terms when needed; (ii) Net Element International’s ability to maintain existing, and secure additional, contracts with users of its payment processing services; (iii) Net Element International’s ability to successfully expand in existing markets and enter new markets; (iv) Net Element International’s ability to successfully manage and integrate any acquisitions of businesses, solutions or technologies; (v) unanticipated operating costs, transaction costs and actual or contingent liabilities; (vi) the ability to attract and retain qualified employees and key personnel; (vii) adverse effects of increased competition on Net Element International’s business; (viii) changes in government licensing and regulation that may adversely affect Net Element International’s business; (ix) the risk that changes in consumer behavior could adversely affect Net Element International’s business; (x) Net Element International’s ability to protect its intellectual property; and (xi) local, industry and general business and economic conditions. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements can be found in the most recent annual report on Form 10-K and the subsequently filed quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed by Net Element International with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Net Element International anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause its plans, intentions and expectations to change. Net Element International assumes no obligation, and it specifically disclaims any intention or obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by law.