Mobile operators look for value in m-banking and payments

Mobile operators look for value in m-banking and payments

Around 25% of mobile subscribers will regularly use wireless banking services by the end of 2009, compared to around seven per cent now, according to a survey of mobile operators conducted by Boston-based consultancy Aite Group.

The report, which is based on an October 2007 survey of 12 international mobile operators, found that by the end of 2009, 25.5% of users are expected to use their hand sets for mobile banking, while 26.3% will use them for mobile commerce.

By year-end 2009, almost 20% of subscribers are expected to regularly use phones for person-to-person (P2P) payments, compared to less than five per cent at the end of 2007. Meanwhile over 10% are expected to use mobile handsets to make contactless payments in 2009.

With the majority of payments being diverted to phone bills at the end of 2007, mobile operators stand to gain tremendously as mobile transactions continue to increase, says Aite Group.

"Mobile operators clearly have a high opinion of themselves when it comes to the role they believe they will play in the future of mobile transactions," says Nick Holland, senior analyst with Aite Group and author of this report. "Though they may lose out in some areas, such as payment share for mobile commerce, new technologies like mobile POS payments may lead to a very bright future for the intersection of mobile devices and payments."

A separate Aite study released earlier this year predicted that the number of US customers using mobile banking services will rise from 1.6 million in 2007 to 35 million by year-end 2010.

A more recent report by TowerGroup also predicted that take-up of m-banking services will soar, rising from 1.1 million in 2007 to 40.9 million by 2012.

The growth will be driven by major improvements in technology across wireless networks, handsets and applications, said TowerGroup.

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