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Mobile money distribution networks: where do we go from here?

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This is the third in my series of posts about the value of distribution networks, and I’m wrapping up my thoughts. You can check out the earlier posts here and here.

Some people see mobile money as the next big thing. They say it promises a bright new future where mobile payments will make fortunes for operators and transform the lives of unbanked consumers who use these mobile payments to pay utility bills rather than spend the day queuing. The unbanked community alone is a huge constituency: in 75% of countries, the majority of citizens have no access to banking facilities.

The GSMA defines the mobile money as a $5 billion dollar market opportunity. To ensure that the market delivers on this opportunity, mobile operators need not look further than capitalizing on the distribution network created through the distribution of their prepaid recharge network. By introducing services such as bill payment and mobile money-transfer into the distribution network operators is not only increase revenue, but are providing a service that addresses a market need.

For example, mobile operators realize a cost saving as high as 60% over using the traditional scratch-card or voucher based systems. An electronic top-up or payment application can be deployed and integrated over an existing POS, ATM and/or Public Cash and Payment Machines (PCPM) networks and give operators unparalleled access to deliver products and services to thousands of installed POS terminals.

There are many examples in the market whereby distribution networks have delivered greater efficiencies to the corporations which provide services or products to end consumer and other corporations. Colalife is one such example where a distribution network has provided life-saving aide to humankind that were previously unreachable for treatment.

Humankind has been augmenting products, processes, and now distribution networks to drive greater efficiencies, incorporate greater functionalities, and deliver innovative approaches to the market. Augmenting the distribution network through the use of tighter control mechanisms facilitates the success for Mobile Money to help create the next economic boom.