Financial Inclusion

Smartphones and mobile money in emerging markets


The future role of smartphones in mobile money application is becoming clearer from recent trends and statistics. Estimated to account for 56% of all connections in emerging markets by 2018, service providers can strengthen their position by investing in a smartphone strategy.

Having previously used USSD, STK and SMS as access channels, service providers are encouraged to recognise that new smartphone models with their app advantage, now rival the benefits of their low-cost counterparts. The devices are inexpensive, selling for as low as $4 in India, and offer adaptable pricing models that are affordable for those in the emerging markets. They arrive too with data-ready mobile networks. With the potential to become widely accessible, further technological advancement is prompted in this direction.

So what is influencing this recommended course of action? The GSMA puts it down to 4 things: Rising competition with the proven potential of apps to disrupt major industries, lack of success so far in creating mobile money apps that adequately attract subscribers, technological developments that may render existing channel options obsolete, and the growth of smartphones as a mass market product.

By prioritising in a ‘robust smartphone strategy’, GSMA suggest that service providers will be able to:

  1. Future-proof their service proposition from emerging competition
  2. Drive ecosystem volumes through a more accessible interface that offers greater flexibility on product development
  3. Develop a more usable service, which enables mobile money products and services to further reach under served segments.

To read the full article, click here.

Related articles: Mobile money smartphone apps: Trends from Latin America

Click to read our White paper: Apps for mobile money in emerging markets.

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