Some telco efforts to enter new markets succeed, while others fail.
Mobile money businesses appear to be a clear example of the former, while over the top voice and messaging services appear to be an example of the latter.
At least so far, there is optimism about Internet of Things initiatives. It is unclear whether cloud computing might become an example of the latter, as well.
Mobile success in banking-related services might come as a bit of a surprise, even if “financial inclusion” is a major problem.
As of 2014, 40 percent of the global adult population did not have any kind of formal financial account, bank based or otherwise, and as such were considered financially excluded, according to GSMA.
Emerging markets led the growth of global non-cash transactions between 2009 and 2013. The volume of non-cash transactions grew 13 percent compared to mature markets at six percent, driven by emerging markets in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, which saw growth rates of 20 percent per year.
As of June 2015 there were 255 live mobile money services around the world, with a further 102 services planned, according to GSMA.
More than half of the live services are in Sub-Saharan Africa, where mobile money has become a popular service not only for fund transfers but also for other transactions such as airtime top-ups and bill payments.
There are 300 million mobile money accounts globally and 2.3 million agent outlets extending mobile money services to customers who do not have access to a bank branch network, GSMA notes.
There also are more than 100 million active mobile money accounts in service. Some 21 services have more than one million active accounts, and in 16 countries the number of mobile money accounts is greater than the number of bank accounts.