Juniper Research predicts that P2P fund transfers and mobile payments in the developing world, together with the commercialisation in 2009 of NFC (Near Field Communications) based m-payments will generate transactions worth approximately $22bn.
Greater availability of NFC devices, for physical mobile payments, coupled with secure and easy-to-use applications, backed by the large credit card organisations and financial institutions, will create the foundation for a healthy alternative to cash and other mainstream payment applications, says the study.
Report author Alan Goode says: "The technology is available now to enable secure and fast payments to be initiated on the mobile phone. The business model stills needs some work but there are positive signals emanating from the industry that will create considerable revenue for all parts of the ecosystem."
Over the last two years, pilot programmes in Africa and Asia have highlighted the potential for mobile phones to deliver basic financial services in developing countries. For instance Safaricom and Vodafone recently launched M-Pesa, a mobile-based payment service targeting the un-banked, pre-pay mobile subscribers in Kenya.
However, the wireless operators involved in such schemes say existing banking regulation are curbing their growth and potential. Only last week Vodafone and Nokia issued a paper calling for an overhaul of the regulatory famework that would open up the market for deposit-taking, clearing systems, and know-your-customer rules to incorporate the activities of mobile operators.