As mCommerce services continue to gain new users across developing regions -- such as sub-Saharan Africa and emerging Asia -- the early-adopter nations have experienced a mobile money revolution that has empowered the local economies.
While in some early-adopter markets -- such as Kenya and Uganda -- mobile money usage already occurs across more than 50 percent of the adult population, there are still significant sections of the un-banked population it has yet to reach.
According to the latest market study by Juniper Research, mobile network service providers are now benefiting from the boom in mobile money transfer services -- with $2 billion in revenues forecast for this year and $4 billion annually by 2018.
Market Development in Africa
The new research points to the African continent as the leading mCommerce market. In fact, several regional mobile network operators -- such as Vodacom Tanzania and MTN Uganda -- are now generating more than 10 percent of their revenues from mobile money transfers.
Meanwhile, Safaricom’s MPESA service, the trailblazer in the sector, recorded mobile money revenues of more than $330 million in the latest financial year, making it the most successful mobile or online money transfer service worldwide.
According to the Juniper study findings, recent surges in both transaction volumes and values were being driven by increased implementation of both cross-border and intra-national remittance interoperability.
The research cited the traffic uplifts engendered by recent agreements between Safaricom and MTN (for the Rwanda-Kenya corridor) and by national interoperability agreements in markets such as Tanzania and Pakistan.
Opportunities for mCommerce Advancement
There's been a shift in service provider requirements, with the majority now seeking to deploy smartphone applications in tandem with Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mobile money transfer solutions.
However, the research cautioned that while inadequate government regulation still constrained growth in a number of markets, in some cases low adoption or activity rates could be attributed to the policies of mobile network service providers.
"There are too many instances where service marketing is inappropriate or incorrectly targeted; where the message simply isn't reaching the desired audience," said Dr Windsor Holden, head of consultancy and forecasting at Juniper Research.
The research also observed that in Nigeria, a number of services had failed to gain repeat usage because of the high cash-out fees, while savings accounts in other markets had withdrawal fees that were inappropriate for low-income users.