TIN Heightens Position in E-Banking, Commerce

In less than 10 days, Telecom Italia
, the Internet division of Telecom Italia, has positioned
itself to become one of the major European players in Internet banking and

Joining forces with the Banca Poporare di Novara, to offer e-banking
services to customers throughout the Mediterranean peninsula, was a first
step in TIN’s overall scheme. According to a company statement, the union
will allow TIN’s customers to buy, sell, and trade shares in “real time” as
well as obtain minute-by-minute information on the stock markets of Milan
and the world. The new service will, in addition, provide traditional
banking services through Banca Popolare di Novara accounts.

In a country such as Italy, where fear of personal and financial security
over the Internet is a major concern among current and potential users, the
move by TIN and Banca Popolare di Novara is a strategic one in gaining
client support, as transactions will be performed by the established
financial institute.

The union is obviously part of TIN’s overall Internet expansion strategy,
as it comes only days after another agreement was reached by TIN and GTP
(Gruppo Tonino Perna) Holding, a company with substantial investments in the
sectors of fashion (Ittierre), finance (Diner’s Club) and publishing (Franco
Maria Ricci). The joint efforts, as defined by both companies, will allow
TIN and GTP to develop and distribute e-commerce products and services, and
utilize the marketing resources of both companies.

The collaboration agreement also calls for the creation of “luxury portals”
for Diner’s Club users, where products and services of Gruppo Telecom and
GTP will be offered to the global Internet market.

But TIN’s march towards e-banking and commerce dominance has not stopped
here. Telecom Italia, by way of TIN, entered a joint venture with Servizi
Interbancari, Italy’s industry leader in the development of credit cards, to
produce the E-Vai package; a state-of-the-art microprocessor credit card.

The E-Vai package, which allows instant access to the Internet as well as
built-in security measures for e-commerce, will be tested, according to TIN,
within the next two-to-three months, afterwhich it will be distributed as a
CartaSi (VISA)–the widest used credit card in Italy.

“This is an important initiative,” said Mario Castelli, Servizi Interbancari’s general director, “because it faces the global problem (of secure buying
on the Internet) and provides families with an instrument to utilize the
net, while making payments with reduced interest charges.”

Rocco Sabelli, director for the Italian market at Telecom, said the
new offering by TIN and Servizi Interbancari, “represents a fundamental step
towards the development of electronic commerce and the expansion of Internet
in Italy.”

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