Wireless ATMs promise cost savings

Australian ATM transaction processor Eftex is set to roll out wireless ATMs using Vodafone’s GPRS network and promising ATM owners cost savings of up to 50 percent.

Eftex has been running trials over the last five months and will start rolling out the new service to more than 300 ATMs by the end of 2004.

Traditionally, financial institutions have operated their ATMs using a permanently connected leased line because of its relatively fast, secure and reliable transactions; however, these leased lines have proven to be expensive.

The alternative, which many independent (non-bank) ATM deployers favour, is a dial-up ATM. While cheaper to operate, dial-up ATMs are generally slower and concerns have been raised regarding reliability and security.

Eftex managing director David Glen said the wireless ATM solution delivers the benefits of a leased-line ATM but at a dial-up price.

"As for dial-up ATMs, I think they’re set to become museum pieces," Glen said claiming the trials are a world-first.

"The business case is just so strong we believe that within four years, most banks will be running their ATMs on GPRS."

Vodafone Australia future data marketing manager Declan O’Callaghan said by moving ATMs from leased line to wireless technology, the industry including the major banks and financial services firms, will save up to $35 million annually.

Vodafone set to announce 3G vendor

Vodafone Australia will choose a vendor to roll out its 3G network later this month and has reaffirmed its commitment to have it operating by mid-2005.

Australia and New Zealand are in phase II of Vodafone's third-generation mobile rollout while its long-awaited European 3G services are expected to launch in October this year. Vodafone Australia chief executive Grahame Maher said the company is in the final stages of selecting a vendor.

The company's existing network supplier Ericsson is a possibility for the contract, while Nokia and Siemens/NEC have also been mentioned.

"Our plans are still firmly in place to launch our 3G service to customers by mid 2005," Maher said.

Hutchison was the first to market 3G services in Australia and has spent $3 billion on the rollout offering greatly improved connection speeds.

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