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Research: Mobile payments

The use of mobile phones to make (and eventually receive) monetary transactions, commonly referred to as “mobile payments”, has been an area of focus for the mobile telecom industry players in the last few years as having strong potential for value generation.

Despite the predictions of significant growth over the next 5 years (the market is forecasted to grow to $633.4 billion by 2014, up from $68.7 billion in 2009, according to a report by Generator Research), implementation of successful revenue models in this area has so far been asymmetric across markets, with most of the success stories occurring in underdeveloped countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, and few solutions gaining significant traction in developed countries, with the exception of Japan.

In this article, written in November 2010, I identify distinct mobile payment models, look at players entering the market and try to identify key success factors and trends in the implementation of mobile payment solutions. Recently however, several rumours surfaced about the iPhone 5 implementing a new payment service based on near-field communications. It will be interesting to see how Apple’s implementation will affect this analysis.

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