Knocking on the M-commerce Door
The past few months have seen more telcos inserting themselves into the mobile money and mobile commerce value chains.
In Spain, Telefónica SA announced partnerships with financial institutions CaixaBank and Santander to create a new business in mobile banking, including a mobile wallet. (See Telefónica Brokers Mobile Money Alliance.)
Meanwhile PT XL Axiata Tbk. in Indonesia is set to use the Amdocs Ltd. Mobile Payments solution to offer direct carrier billing and allow consumers to purchase apps and in-app content without the need to use a credit card or engage in lengthy registration processes.
These two announcements are significant: The Spanish venture will target more than 500,000 Spanish merchants; while XL Axiata's venture will allow the provider to extend its service to other app stores such as Google Play and other global aggregators as they enter the Indonesian market.
Though these use cases are different, both will be interesting to monitor -- the value propositions are promising but customer uptake is hard to predict.
For example, CaixaBank took part in the NFC (Near Field Communication) Experience at this year's Mobile World Congress, where attendees could exchange information and conduct transactions at locations throughout the event's location via any NFC-enabled device. Of the event's 72,000 mobile-savvy attendees, only 10,500 took advantage of the NFC Experience, according to the show's organizer, GSM Association (GSMA). That's a low percentage, given the profile of the event's attendees.
That doesn't mean NFC and mobile transactions will not take off in developed mobile economies, though. Mobile operators need to be ready to provide all manner of mobile commerce services: They need to insert themselves into the mobile banking and mobile commerce value chain, or they may find themselves wishing, once again, that they'd been quicker to market.
— Sarah Wallace, Analyst, Heavy Reading