Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Even fewer independent Mobile Banking suppliers

Investments and acquisitions in the Mobile banking supplier industry during the past six months reduced the number of serious independent suppliers to a handful. With the large investment of Nokia in Obopay (remember a Nokia Executive now sits on the Obopay board), the acquisition of paybox by Sybase and now the big investment of Visa in Monitise only a few independents remain. Only Fundamo, Uthiba and a few others can still claim full Independence in this industry.

Why is it important to license technology from independent suppliers?

Lets look at a few scenarios. In the case where a customer wants to offer a solution on any handset (not just Nokia), or run on any message platform using MasterCard (for instance), the choices are now even more limited. In selecting any of the listed suppliers, a clients cannot be sure that the selection of Handset manufacturer, Credit Card supplier etc. was done in the best interest of the client. These suppliers will now inadvertently be influenced in their decisions to consider the interests of their shareholders. This is not the best place to be.

The questions is: How important is independence in this game, especially at a stage when so many changes can still be injected into the market?

1 comment:

Inept Speculator said...

Hi hannes. Great blog. I have been curious and wanted to get your view point in this issue. I cannot seem to understand how the conventional banking sector can use mobile companies (who provide virtual money transfer) as tools for expansion, especially into the rural un-banked market? Casing point being Safaricom of Kenya and their M-Pesa money transfer service. To me they seem all in house and a direct competitor to the banks, rather than being a tool for distribution. Please do shed some light on how Fundamo, MTNMobile wallet is any different and if they are causing an uproar in the banking sector there? Maybe South Africa has an up to date banking regulations in comparison to Kenya and thus no direct competition? Secondly has MTN taken this mobile wallet across boundaries to other sub-saharan nations they are present?

Finally is Fundamo a privately held company in South Africa? Would you think they are pursuing partnership and possible all out equity sale? How much would you say Fundamo is worth? Appreciated mate. Yonis