Gold in the hills for m-payment players

Service revenues or fees from m-commerce transactions are expected to reach $37bn by 2016, bolstered by mobile remote payments for physical goods and services and international mobile money transfers. These two elements together will be worth over $25bn in 2016, accounting for two thirds of the total m-commerce market, according to statistics released this week.

Online auction house and PayPal owner eBay recently reported that sales from mobile payments now account for over ten per cent of its total purchases in the UK. Ebay is predicting global sales of $8bn via mobile on eBay alone up from $5bn last year, while PayPal is projecting that its global mobile total payment volume will be $7bn in 2012.

“According to our research, mobile retail will be worth a massive £19bn to the UK economy by 2021,” said Angus McCarey, UK retail director for eBay.

Shailendra Pandey, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, which published the m-commerce forecasts, said the market is increasingly moving in the direction of openness and interoperability with other telecoms, internet and financial services networks. This is likely to ultimately lead to the merging of the credit-card and mobile-payments business models, and quite possibly drive mobile operators, banks and credit card companies into competition with each other.

“Currently the majority of m-commerce transactions – including mobile banking, remote and local payments, and money transfers – are conducted using SMS, especially in developing markets. In the next five years, traffic will shift steadily onto more secure and lower-cost bearers, such as USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and packet data, mobile applications, and NFC in the case of local payments, with a corresponding fall in service revenue per transaction,” said Pandey.

Mobile operators in developed markets are creating cross-network alliances and joint ventures to compete with the global reach of the OTT players. At the same time, operators are also pursuing their own individual service rollout plans focused on own-brand mobile-wallet and prepaid-cash products. “There will be ‘first-mover’ benefits for those operators and service providers that are early to market with mobile wallet and m-commerce services as they will create greater subscriber ‘stickiness’ for their network and more churn from their competitors”, Pandey said.

In related news, Turkcell and Research In Motion on Wednesday announced the commercial availability of an NFC-based mobile wallet application, the Turkcell Cep-T Cüzdan, for the BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone.

Users can tap their NFC-enabled BlackBerry against a MasterCard PayPass reader at retail points to make payments of up to TL35 ($19) per transaction with no pin or signature.


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