India’s largest private sector lender, ICICI Bank, and mobile telecommunications group Vodafone India have partnered to launch M-Pesa mobile money transfer service in India.

ICICI Bank and Vodafone India – via its 100% subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions – have, reportedly, finalised plans to launch the M-Pesa service later in 2012 in the eastern region of India in cities such as Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

An ICICI mobile money account and a mobile wallet – issued by Mobile Commerce Solutions – will be offered to subscribers of the service.

M-Pesa will feature money transfer to any mobile phone and bank account in India, alongside a range of mobile payment services including purchase of mobile recharge and utility bill payments.

The plans are to extend M-Pesa to the farthest regions of India via a network of authorised agents, who will enable subscribers to deposit and withdraw cash in and from their accounts.

Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank, says the launch will allow the lender to "reach out to segments that currently do not have access to banking services", towards ICICI Bank’s objective of "achieving greater financial inclusion".

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Vodafone launched M-Pesa in Kenya in March 2007, allowing Kenyans to send and receive money via SMS and collect the cash at outlets of Kenya’s largest telecommunication services provider Safaricom – 40% owned by Vodafone – and other agencies around the country.

M-Pesa created a financial revolution in Kenya and is currently available in seven countries. The service is used regularly by over 15m customers, generating over 165m transactions per month.