[Dave Birch] Payments isn’t the only driver, or in fact even the main driver, of transactions in the mobile commerce world. It’s natural that this blog tends to look at the mobile payments space, but in order to understand that space properly it’s important to see the context for payment transactions as transactions of many kinds. As in the case of contactless card rollout in London, the future trajectory of cash replacement is intimately linked to the future trajectory of ticket replacement. Transport operators only provide ticketing systems because the payments industry does not provide any suitable payment products, so if it were to start providing suitable payment products then it would have an enormous market ripe and ready to generate initial volumes for the new products.

Over 400 million subscribers will use mobile ticketing systems by 2013, contributing to gross transactions of $92bn (£53.8bn), according to recent research by mobile analyst firm Juniper Research.

[From Mobile ticketing still facing barriers – vnunet.com]

If this number seems high, you need to see it in the context of the mobile commerce that is already being carried out in markets around the world. In Japan — everyone’s favourite example, of course — there is already a $100 billion+ m-commerce market and it’s still growing strongly.

The country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications says business carried out through cell phones in Japan was worth $106 billion in 2007 (up 23% from 2006), with m-commerce accounting for $67 billion and the mobile content market for $39 billion. Just one example: Cell phone owners downloaded music worth $10.2 billion, 42% more than in 2006.

[From Japan’s super-advanced mobile web: Too unique to serve as a global blueprint?]

The reason why I tend to focus on mobile a lot with various clients at the moment is because I think we’re at an interesting point in the evolution of digital financial services as we begin to realise that mobile is not the niche, but the maintstream.

Mobile services today are about where the Internet was in 1996. And globally, mobile banking and payments will be even more important that online banking and payments.

[From Why New Financial Technology Remains Important (NetBanker)]

I couldn’t agree more. We have to stop thinking of m-financial services (including m-payments) as being the same as Internet financial services but with a small screen.

I’m going to be talking about this kind of thing a lot at Informa’s Mobile Payments and Commerce conference in Brussels on 17th and 18th March 2009 where I will be chairing the first day. Once again demonstrating their magnificent commitment to education and enlightenment, the wonderful people at Informa have given me a delegate pass for this event — worth an astounding TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND TEN EUROS plus VAT — to give away on this blog as a competition prize. So if you are going to be in Brussels on those dates and you’d like to come along to hear some of the leaders in the field discussing mobile payments and commerce, then all you have to do is be the first person to respond to this post with the Greek name of the gold coin, approximately four grams in weight, that was minted in the Byzantine empire until the fall Constantinople in 1453.

In the traditional fashion, this competition is open to all except for employees of Consult Hyperion and members of my immediate family, is void where prohibited and is committed to be carbon-neutral by the year 2715. The prize must be claimed within one month. Oh, and no-one can win more than one of the Digital Money Blog prizes per calendar.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]


  1. Solidus was a good guess, but again they are older. The answer I was looking for was indeed the hyperperon, so well done Vincenzo. E-mail me your details and I will pass them on to the organisers.

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