Mobile payments—a growth engine

Telecom players, payment gateway companies and enterprises need to note the growth potential in mobile payments. While only 16 percent of smartphone and tablet users are currently using mobile payment services, 74 percent are aware of such services and an additional 39 percent indicated they would be interested or plan to use mobile payment apps. Indeed, mobile banking (m-banking) features quite high among the more favored mobile Internet activities. The survey shows that 46 percent of the respondents have used their mobile device for banking transactions. Banks are also increasingly adding the mobile platform to their mix of distribution channels to meet the growing demand for mobility. Not surprisingly, marketplace estimates put the number of m-banking users globally at 500 million by 2010.

The improved navigation features, lower data costs and availability of a range of apps are convincing digital consumers about the value addition of using mobile Internet. New and developing areas such as Near Field Communications and augmented reality services are set to push mobile Internet usage to a whole new level altogether. The Accenture survey hints at that possibility with the finding that across the 13 countries it surveyed, 17 percent of the smartphone and tablet users are using augmented reality services and a further 50 percent indicated they would be interested or plan to use such services soon. Overall, 23 percent of the respondents in emerging markets are using augmented reality services against 14 percent in mature markets. The intended adoption in the next 12 months will further widen this gap, with 26 percent of the respondents in emerging markets saying they plan to use these services as against 20 percent in mature markets

While augmented reality services are yet to take off in a big way, one of the survey findings could have implications for the pricing strategies of mobile service operators (MSO). As many as 87 percent of the respondents were willing to pay for premium services while 78 percent were ready to do so for cloud services. Nearly a quarter of these respondents were willing to pay US$10–20 for premium services.

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