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900 Million Users for Mobile Banking & Payment Services by 2012

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The latest figures from IMS Research show the combined forecasts for users of contactless mobile payments, mobile banking and over the air (OTA) transactions to reach 884 million in 2012. This is the cumulative number of users expected to adopt new technologies, platforms and services who are expected to complete 62 billion transactions between them in that year.

IMS Research's latest report discusses the fact that mobile penetration in many developing markets is far higher than that of banking or fixed line infrastructure, meaning that mobile is often the only means of access available. This contrasts strongly with more developed markets where mobile is an alternative but personalised means of access.

Orascom has announced a "unique service" launch this year across a number of markets, probably based upon a pre-paid credit model. By doing so it joins operators such as NTT DoCoMo, KTF, Vodafone, Globe, Smart, TIM, AT&T and Sprint amongst others, adding to the growing momentum around mobile financial services.

"The early seeds sown by a handful of companies have started to grow and now serious backing is being provided by both the financial and operator communities", Research Director John Devlin said. "Service growth to date is already strong and taking off across a number of markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. When coupled with the growing volume of rollouts and service launches in Europe and the Americas, the number of new users nearly tripled in 2007."

The GSMA's Mobile Money Summit in Egypt this month has focused attention with major players from both the mobile and financial worlds in attendance. Issues discussed included how the services can benefit providers and partners, not only in terms of increased revenue but also coverage and reach as well as customer service and retention. In addition to these companies, international remittance providers such as Western Union were also in attendance; highlighting the disruptiveness and growing competitiveness that mobile provides to existing incumbents.

"What this demonstrates is that there is a fundamental need for people to securely access and process financial transactions", Devlin added. "Mobile is able to serve a multitude of demands across a variety of lifestyles, cultures and platforms. What is particularly interesting is the innovation being demonstrated in the use of existing technologies and tools, such as SMS, to deliver and enable these services ahead of incoming technologies such as NFC" he concluded.

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