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Russian two go mobile to boost retail returns

Tinkoff Mobile targets middle class with premium service; Sberbank offers free package to cut telecoms bill.

Russia’s most successful incumbent and challenger retail banking players have added mobile phone services to their product offerings in a bid to ramp up returns.

Online financial services provider Tinkoff Bank and state-controlled giant Sberbank are currently rolling out mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), after launches late last year. Both are using the network and infrastructure of Tele2, Russia’s fourth-largest mobile operator.

Sberbank’s mobile service is targeted at the lender’s existing clients, who comprise around half of all retail customers in Russia. Called Let’s Talk, it offers a package of free minutes and data via a mobile app and is designed to slash the bank’s own telecoms costs. At present, Sberbank spends around $100 million a year sending text messages to customers.

By contrast, Tinkoff is looking to attract new customers with its mobile offering, which is aimed at the premium market.

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