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Mobile banking gets choosy in Indonesia

Cell phone users in Indonesia will soon be able to transact with multiple banks from their mobile phones via SMS (Short Messaging Service).

It's a departure from the norm in most parts of Asia, where telecom companies ink mobile deals with individual banks. A user's subscriber identity module (SIM) card, which contains account details, is therefore "locked" to a single bank. The new service by Telkomsel, Indonesia's largest cellular operator, will let users access multi-bank accounts without changing SIM cards. The service is due in the fourth quarter, said Melvyn Sum, CEO of eMobile, the Singapore company selected to power Telkomsel's mobile banking solutions.

The mobile base for Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, could top 8 million by year's end, said research firm IDC. eMobile is in talks with other sectors, such as financial services, government and manufacturing.

CNETAsia's Fran Foo reported from Singapore.

To read the full story, visit CNETAsia.