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Mass-market adoption of mobile payments still 2-3 years away: MoreMagic exec

The top executive at MoreMagic Solutions, a global mobile commerce and financial services provider, said that mobile payments have made great strides but that the industry is still two or three years away from mass-market adoption.

Nokia Siemens Networks and MoreMagic Solutions recently announced a global partnership to provide mobile commerce and financial services to wireless carriers and other clients. The jointly developed Mobile Payment Solution platform enables the delivery of a range of services, including money transfer, mobile banking, mobile payments and near field communication proximity payments.

“We have been partners with Nokia Siemens since 2001—we sell our platform as the Nokia Payments Solution and positioned it toward wireless carriers, and we have expanded that relationship to include NFC as an additional channel through which consumers can buy physical goods,” said Pankaj Gulati, chairman and CEO of MoreMagic Solutions, Boston.

“The synergy is very clear—we provide the mobile payments technology, and Nokia Siemens is looking to be a very big player in the mobile payments space,” he said. “We are helping them put the technology together.”

Nokia Siemens Networks is a global enabler of telecommunications services, including mobile, fixed and converged network technology, as well as professional services, consultancy and systems integration, deployment, maintenance and managed services.

With deployments in more than 60 countries worldwide, MoreMagic Solutions offers transaction platforms for carriers, financial institutions, content providers and distributors, letting consumers buy goods and services on demand via mobile phones, POS or the Web.

The company specializes in mobile recharge, or top up, and mobile money transfer, or a mobile wallet, both domestic and international, mobile banking, bill payment and mobile commerce, with integration into diverse network environments, languages and currencies.

Mobile payments magic
The joint Nokia Siemens Networks and MoreMagic Solutions mobile payments platform interconnects consumers, carriers, financial institutions, retailers, agents and other members of the mobile commerce and financial services value chain to enable monetary transactions.

Mr. Gulati said the approach is particularly attractive for developing markets where fewer people have access to banks and credit cards to transfer money.

Mobile commerce and financial services are totally revolutionizing the way people interact with cash and manage their finances, per MoreMagic.

Mr. Gulati said his company is delighted to be partnering with Nokia Siemens Networks and is looking forward to contributing to the evolution of mobile payment services.

The combination of MoreMagic services with Nokia Siemens Networks’ integrated Subscriber Data Management, Identity Management and Unified Charging provides a set of mobile payment services in this market segment.

LPTIC (Libya Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology Holding Company) is trialing Mobile Payment Solutions in close collaboration with Al Madar and Libyana, the two leading carriers in Libya.

LPTIC plans to extend mobile payments as a service to all carriers across Libya as an enhancement to its operations.

The project, which is set to run over a period of four months, will provide customers with access to basic financial services, which have previously been enjoyed only by a small percentage of the population, and access to NFC proximity payments for purchasing anywhere anytime.

MoreMagic has been tracking mobile payments implementations in the developed and the developing world, from mobile parking, mobile ticketing and lotteries to selling Wi-Fi vouchers and buying airtime, as well as paying for fast food and paying bills.

While there have already been a large number of use cases in the space, Mr. Gulati does not believe there is a single killer application that will get millions of people to use mobile payments overnight.

“There is a high probability that in the next five years, we will not see as many people using plastic credit cards as we see more credit card interfaces on mobile phones and more NFC implementation at the point of sale in metropolitan areas of the U.S.,” Mr. Gulati said.

“Our customers are primarily the carriers, which want to enable an ecosystem where multiple payments options are available through NFC,” he said.

“Carriers in certain countries may not have much to do when it comes to buy a movie ticket, but they want to create digital shopping malls and app stores.”

Mr. Gulati said that there will be some serious NFC pilots happening over the next 12 to 24 months.

Assuming that by the end of this year we have both Android and iPhone platforms supporting NFC, it will take another 12 to 18 months for some serious NFC applications and rollouts to take place.

“Mass-market adoption of NFC payments is still at least two or three years away,” Mr. Gulati said. “There are two real issues when it comes to enabling the mobile payments ecosystems—one is the revenue share, another is ‘Who owns the customer?’

“In its pilot mode where we are today, those lines are getting drawn in the sand right now—banks, financial institutions and credit card issuers are going to be very protective of their territory,” he said. “Carriers are saying that this is their customer and they should get the most value, and content providers will want a fair shake.

“Carriers will be able to make between 15 and 30 percent of these transactions in some cases, in others they may not—it will be worked out on an application-by-application basis.”

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily