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Phone Plus Prepaid: Channel News

By Tara Seals
June 01, 2003 - Article

Posted: 6/2003

Channel News
VendTek Launches Now Prepay Subsidiary

By Tara Seals

VendTek Systems Inc. has launched Now Prepay Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary specifically created to pursue electronic PIN distribution for the prepaid telecom market in Canada.

Now Prepay's mission is to join forces with point-of-sale terminal distributors and transaction processing organizations to integrate VendTek's e-Fresh software for electronic service distribution with debit card and credit card processing software.

Now Prepay has agreements with the major Canadian telecommunications companies, including Bell Mobility, Fido, Rogers AT&T Wireless and Telus Mobility to distribute the electronic PINs that are convertible to prepaid telecom services like wireless airtime and long distance. Now Prepay also has developed it's own "clean" prepaid long-distance card, with no connect fee, no surcharging and no maintenance fees.

"Now Prepay is VendTek's e-Fresh showcase," says Now Prepay President Doug Buchanan. "Now Prepay is working with all potential sales channels to provide our e-Fresh-enabled POS terminals throughout the supply chain. We anticipate the majority of retailers will adopt electronic delivery of prepaid and other services, as it will cut down on cost, theft, damage and ultimately enable them to increase their margins for selling these services."

The electronic inventory is stored on a central server and distribution is through a secure network. The usage is similar to paying by a debit card where a keypad is used to select airtime minutes or dollar values. A receipt is printed containing a unique PIN number that is then dialed into a cell phone or telephone. The PIN number is downloaded in real time, is single use, and doesn't need to be inventoried by the retailer.

With the addition of UPC bar codes to their customers' prepaid telecom product offerings, Now Prepay can track their electronic PIN inventory usage in real time. Users have instant recognition of which services and price points are most popular. Up-to-the-minute data such as purchasing times and demographics can then be used tailor marketing programs.

Suppliers provided VendTek with the UPC codes and the company's development team incorporated them into its e-Fresh software. e-Fresh is compatible with Hypercom ICE 5500 terminals, Ingenico and Verifone PoS terminals.

Now Prepay has signed a distribution agreement with Go Prepaid Inc. to distribute prepaid cellular and long-distance airtime through e-Fresh equipped PoS terminals. Go Prepaid deployed 12 terminals to the first of its more than 500 clients in the initial launch.

It has also sold e-Fresh client licenses to Tangarine Concepts Corp. for the activation of its PoS terminals with the Now Prepay Corp's server, so the PoS terminals can provide the resale of prepaid long-distance and wireless services through the electronic network. Tangarine has built a Canadian coast-to-coast network of small to medium-sized businesses using their systems, has approximately 3,000 PoS terminals installed to-date, and is growing at a rate of 200 terminals per month.

Collective Logic Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Collective Point of Sale Solutions Ltd. will market the e-Fresh PoS terminal software to its existing terminal base and to new terminals. Similarly, Datawest Solutions Inc. will deploy the e-Fresh software application on its 2,700 Hypercom PoS terminals.

The company is banking on continued prepaid growth. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association reports there are 10.5 million Canadian cellular subscribers of which 2.6 million are prepaid users. In Canada, the market for cellular phone time recharges is expected to reach $800 million annually by 2004. Similarly, the market for prepaid long distance is expected to increase to $500 million by 2004, says the company.

TelCan Enhances Web Tools for Wholesale Customers

TelCan is offering its wholesale clients enhanced Web-based tools designed to boost productivity and enhance product offerings.

"TelCan has developed APIs so its partners can provide online management service to their own clients and affiliates," says Anton Mendoza, president of TelCan, a provider of value-added voice services, including enhanced toll-free service, international callback, click-to-talk, dial-around and prepaid phone cards.

Using these APIs, Mendoza says service providers can retrieve and change data stored at TelCan's servers from their own Web interface. Clients can alter invoice presentation, order new services, retrieve call details, recharge PINs, upload ANIs, change line parameters, update payments and more.

Another new aspect of TelCan's enhanced web-based tools is its Rate Management System, which enables clients to manage multiple price lists and country groups.

TelCan also has created custom solutions to meet the individual needs of service providers and resellers. Companies can build their own plans using TelCan's Web-based platform, which consists of switching, prepaid/postpaid billing and online customer care.

The company also announced revamping its Web site, including providing targeted information to carriers and partners.

"Creating a targeted site for each product and service will enable TelCan to provide in-depth, audience-specific information on all products and partnership programs required," says Mendoza. "For example, the Enhanced Toll Free Service Web site has a customer service aspect and is product-oriented, whereas the wholesale Web site is process-oriented and emphasizes the high-tech acumen of the company."

Creating customer-oriented focus for TelCan's Web sites will provide clients with access to multiple communication channels that will immediately direct visitors to the right person at TelCan. A customer care center has been developed with instant callback buttons, online chat buttons, toll free numbers and categorized feedback forms.

i.Core Technologies Debuts Wholesale Prepaid Internet

i.Core Technologies Inc. has launched NetPINs wholesale prepaid Internet access service. Initially released in the 48 contiguous United States, NetPINs enables resellers to create customized and privately labeled dialup Internet PINs.

Expanded services in the United States, South America, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific will be launched by the end of the second quarter of 2003.

NetPINs provides batches of PINs that can be loaded onto prepaid cards, permitting easy dialup Internet access. Resellers and card manufacturers need no technical knowledge or direct contact with network carriers, and can create all their PINs anytime.

Each reseller uses an online form via a standard Web browser to create, customize, and download batches of PINs with individual passwords, selecting the number of PINs to generate, access time available, and expiration for each PIN. Choosing the options that best fit their business plan, they price their final cards as they wish.

NetPINs currently allows nationwide toll-free Internet access in the 48 contiguous United States. Regional access to local dialup numbers is now available within California-and will expand to the rest of the country during the first quarter of 2003.

PINs can include a company name, can be integrated with branded Internet dialup software and can be loaded onto standard prepaid cards.

NetPINs requires no startup or monthly fees, minimum billings or term commitments. Resellers' accounts are debited only when a PIN is used for the first time.

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
Collective Logic Inc.
Collective Point of Sale Solutions Ltd.
Datawest Solutions Inc.
Go Prepaid Inc.
i.Core Technologies Inc.
Now PrePay Corp.
Tangerine Concepts Corp.
VendTek Systems Inc.

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