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LatAm lags in mobile banking deployments

25 мая 2010

Latin America is dragging its heels when it comes to the deployment of mobile banking services, according to the GSMA.

The industry body said on a conference call on Friday, ahead of this week's Mobile Money Summit in Rio de Janeiro, that it is aware of 13 markets in the region that are in the process of rolling out mobile banking services, but only one that has commercially launched.

"Latin America is lagging behind Africa and Asia," commented Gavin Krugel, director of mobile money at the GSMA.

"Latin America has a larger proportion of banked consumers, so it sits somewhere between developed and emerging markets," he said.

With the demand for basic services already being addressed by traditional banking models, mobile banking services are likely to launch with more advanced offerings, added Krugel.

"From the start we expect services will be more sophisticated, for example, utility and bill payments," he said.

Despite the sluggish start, the GSMA expects Latin America's mobile banking sector will soon pick up.

"In the next year to 18 months we expect LatAm to increase its [mobile banking] activity," said Krugel.

On a global level, the GSMA said 147 mobile banking deployments were underway by the end of 2009 with around 60 of those commercially launched.

"When you look at the [multinational] mobile network operator groups like Vodafone and Telefonica who are rolling out mobile banking, plus big domestic operators like Bharti Airtel and China Mobile, you're looking at operators that represent around 3 billion consumers worldwide," said Krugel; he expects "dozens of deployments" to be announced in the next 12 to 18 months.

At the same time Krugel highlighted the importance of identifying the unmet financial need in each market.

"In markets like Kenya it means services like domestic remittance, but it means bill and utility payments in others," he said.

The situation in Kenya
Mobile banking has proven to be hugely popular in Kenya, commented Greg Reeve, head of mobile payments solutions at Vodafone, during the same conference call.

Vodafone has been offering its M-Pesa mobile money transfer service in Kenya via Safaricom since 2007.

When M-Pesa first launched the average value of each transaction was around $20, but Reeve said this has slowly crept up and now stands at nearly $30 per transaction.

"11% of Kenya's GDP was shifted through M-Pesa last year, and this year we expect to shift 20%," said Reeve.

Safaricom last week launched a mobile bank account in partnership with Kenya's Equity Bank called M-Kesho, which enables M-Pesa customers to deposit and transfer savings via their handsets.

Источник: Total Telecom

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