Mobile Money Machines

Mobile services have clearly joined the pantheon of technologies that have greatly influenced the way people live today. That assertion may sound a little over the top, but in fact it may be an understatement.

Mobile handsets are on track to become a primary component of basic business transactions around the world. The use of handsets for mobile payments and mobile banking is growing rapidly in emerging economies for several reasons, which are explored in the latest Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, "Mobile Payments: Opportunity in the Run-Up to 4G." As network operators upgrade their networks to deliver 4G services, the potential for mobile-based commerce is likely to grow exponentially.

The question facing mobile network operators and handset makers is not whether mobile commerce will become a mainstream service, but when – and more importantly, what the opportunity is for players in the mobile ecosystem. As the report notes, several initiatives are already underway that suggest how operators and handset suppliers can work with financial institutions to create a mobile commerce supply chain. Some of the world's largest operators are already involved in those projects.

Development of mobile commerce is likely to happen at different paces, depending on such factors as regional economies, mobile infrastructure, and service need. In developed markets such as the US, the imperative to develop mobile commerce applications for basic transactions isn't as great as in emerging economies, where sizeable portions of the population have limited or no access to basic economic services such as banks. But the rise of smartphones and 4G networks will create an environment that will decidedly favor new types of applications, some of which are now in the early stages of development.

The move to mobile commerce will take some time, and there are plenty of issues that need to be sorted out – security, reliability, and standardization are three huge challenges. The new report identifies and analyzes these issues, and it profiles 14 technology companies that are now starting to shape the mobile commerce sector. Some of these companies will work as partners with mobile operators in the mobile commerce supply chain; some may turn out to be competitors.

— Aileen Arcilla, Contributing Analyst, 4G/LTE Insider

The report, "Mobile Payments: Opportunity in the Run-Up to 4G," is available as part of an annual subscription (6 issues per year) to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/4glte.

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