Monday, September 17, 2012

Is Mobile Payment Window of Opportunity Closing? If so, Where?

Some might argue that mobile service providers in emerging markets could relatively easily capture much of the the $120 billion to $130 billion mobile payments opportunity.

There is legitimate reason to believe the potential is there. In many emerging markets, where the banking infrastructure is undeveloped, the ability to use a mobile device as a virtual “branch bank” location is a winning and obvious proposition.

According to Gartner, the total value of mobile payments transactions will reach $600 billion by 2016, up from $170 billion in 2012.

Delta Partners argues that the market potential is about $12 trillion. Total fee revenue, some believe, could reach $250 billion, but banks and payment networks will capture most of it, Delta Partners argues.

“We estimate the global revenue that all mobile payments service providers can achieve is approximately $120-130 billion,” Delta Partners argues.

But 90 percent of this revenue will be generated in sophisticated and developed markets. That implies a developing market opportunity for mobile operatorsof about $40 billion to 50 billion, which is equivalent to four percent to five percent of total mobile operators’ revenues.

The point is that the window of opportunity for most mobile service providers is either closed or closing fast. Banks, Visa and MasterCard now are driving electronic payments growth across the world, Delta Partners argues.

While emerging markets operators may consider bypassing the banks, the developed and sophisticated markets operators need to build partnerships with financial-sector players in order to offer the full value proposition and to comply with commercial banking regulatory requirements.

“Sophisticated markets”  account for close to one billion people, Delta Partners says. The key value in such markets is replacing the traditional wallet.

“Developed markets” have a population of around four billion. Cash is still the main means of payment although payment card penetration is increasing. There the opportunity to drive electronic payments becomes a key objective for M-Payments providers. This cluster is represented by sizeable nations such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. These countries have 1.4 billion adults with bank accounts, 0.25 billion credit card owners and more than 1 billion Internet users.

“Emerging markets” have a population of around two billion. In these markets, less than 40 percent of adults have bank accounts. There are 0.4 billion people with bank accounts, less than 0.1 billion with credit cards and 0.4 billion Internet users.

Actual cash transfers are the big oportunity is markets such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, DRC, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, Mexico and Philippines.

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