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Kenya gave the world hope for the future of mobile money with MPesa. After all, over 20% of the country’s GDP is moved through the service. Replicating that success outside Kenya has, however, been difficult.
That may all be about to change though, with the number of people using their mobile phones for person to person (P2P) transfers expected reach 340-million by 2016, up from 84-million last year.
According to UK-based tech analysis company Juniper Research, the most likely new adopters of mobile money transfers are unbanked people in emerging markets.
While there are opportunities in the space both for financial institutions and mobile operators, Juniper Research reckons the latter has the most to gain.
Given that mobile operators are “faced with flat-lining revenues from voice and data services”, the company reckons mobile money can provide them with increased revenue but also “the potential of attracting new customers with the potential of subsequently upselling more sophisticated products such as insurance and savings accounts”.
Juniper Research cautions, however, that the success of mobile money services depends largely on the regulatory services built up around them.
In Kenya, MPesa had enough freedom to grow and become a success. In other emerging market countries such as South Africa, over regulation and powerful banking institutions have effectively strangled similar mobile money products.
According to Juniper Research “the complexity of regulation can slow down service deployment, [and] its requirements can also act as a brake on service adoption”.