If the initial months of 2012 are anything to go by, the clamor surrounding mobile payments shows little sign of abating. New joint ventures have been announced, acquisitions made, new devices launched, applications created, trials conducted and growth forecasts published (many of which are on the highly optimistic side). As this wave of mobile-money related announcements is not the first we have seen over the last decade, it is important to avoid misreading the signals in a frenzy of over-excitement and suddenly reach the conclusion that this is [finally] the year when m-payments goes streaking into the stratosphere: it's not and it won't. However, that's not to say 2012 won't be a significant period in the mpayments lifecycle: the increasing focus being shown by mobile network operators and financial institutions is testimony to that.
But this sharpened interest carries consequences with it, and places MNOs and retail banks on a potential collision course in the critical battle for overall leadership regarding the future direction of m-payments and who ultimately reap the financial rewards. While many MNOs and retail banks have history with m-payments initiatives, and cooperation in such initiatives, these have for the most part been highly limited. Renewed efforts are being made to tap into a revenue stream which will, we believe, become lucrative in the long-term. This raises the question of whether telco operators and institutions can truly work together in harmony, and reach agreement over contentious issues surrounding technical standards, commercial models, and how to best increase awareness and acceptance among both consumers and merchants. Eradicating these obstacles is not the only task for MNOs and banks to accomplish: they must also decide how to work with other members of a diverse ecosystem, such as device manufacturers, apps developers, payment processors and retailers.
In a joint Web conference held in May 2012, IDC explored the factors affecting the development and growth of mpayments from two different perspectives. Analysts from IDC's Consumer Mobile team examined the impacts on, and implications for, MNOs, and IDC's Financial Insights practice assessed the strategies currently being pursued (or previously discarded) by institutions. The Web conference concluded by offering a view as to whether MNOs and retail banks can comfortably cooperate, or if in fact the mpayment landscape is destined to be a perennial battleground.
During the Web conference, attendees were able to:
In This Web Conference
Europe, Middle East and Africa Internet and Mobile Services , Europe, Middle East and Africa Mobile Consumer Services , IDC Financial Insights: European Banking IT Strategies