Mobile Payments to Determine Future of Global Economy

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, Nov 03 (IPS) – Half the global working age population does not have a bank account, yet six billion people have access to a mobile phone. Ninety percent of people in developing countries have mobile phone subscriptions and 84 percent have signed up to mobile broadband subscriptions.

This supports an upward trend in adoption of mobile payment technologies in developing countries, where many users now have a means to utilise previously inaccessible financial services via their mobile phones.[pullquote]3[/pullquote]

It has been predicted that mobile payment subscribers will reach almost 1.1 billion users by the end of 2015, with an annual 1.3 trillion dollars in global mobile commerce by 2017.

The growth of mobile data traffic in Africa is also expected to increase 20 times between 2013 and 2019, Latin America is forecasted to experience a 67 percent growth in mobile data traffic by 2017, and Asia Pacific will produce 47 percent of all global mobile data traffic within this same period.

On a global scale, mobile data traffic will surpass growth rates of Internet access, driven primarily by developing economies that are reliant on mobile data to access the internet. Mobile devices will continue to be more common than desktop or laptop computers in developing countries, signaling that mobile commerce will continue to dominate e-commerce.

Societies that have weaker financial systems with less regulation are quicker to accept m-payment technologies, with better consumer response than in developed economies, possibly due to different expectations than those in developed economies.

These emerging economies will face a range of growing pains as regulations and competition surface in markets where digital transactions represent the first mainstream financial system. Its unclear whether the current model will be sustainable.

Its highly likely that emerging economies will bypass diffusion of credit or debit cards completely. Current trends have demonstrated a move directly from cash to mobile. In order to get a credit or debit card, individuals must go through a lengthy process and merchants must invest in hardware to accept cards. Using mobile payments typically just requires a basic mobile phone subscription in developing countries.

Mobile payments and mobile banking in developing countries will establish a financial system which will be led primarily by private sector telecommunication companies. Read More

Africa Tech Trends: Cross-border remittances set to get easier in East Africa

Cross-border remittances set to get easier in East Africa

Pan-African operator Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 African and Asian countries, is set to launch the pilot phase of a cross-border money transfer product in East Africa on 1 November. The initiative is the first of its kind in Africa, and will allow Airtel Money customers in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda to transact across borders.

The process of removing barriers to mobile money transactions has been stepped up in the last few months, with Airtel again playing a role in the launch of an inter-operable service in Tanzania. Airtel and Tigo partnered for a cross-network transfer service that allows customers to send money to any recipient regardless of what company they hold their mobile wallet with. Read more

Apple outlines $100m grant for Obama’s ConnectED initiative

Apple plans to contribute $100 million in grants to US schools as part of President Obama’s ConnectED initiative.

The iPad and iPhone maker’s new microsite details the company’s contribution, saying that “Education is a fundamental right for everyone,” and so free Apple technology will be issued where it is needed most to further student tuition.

Obama’s ConnectED initiative aims to bring reliable Internet access to 99 percent of US students by 2017, with a particular focus on “parts of the country that typically have trouble attracting investment in broadband infrastructure.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and firms including Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Verizon support the scheme by offering grants, as well as free and discounted software.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple plans to divide $100 million between 114 schools in 29 states. The company has chosen schools where at least 96 percent of the students are eligible for a free or discount-price lunch, and 92 percent of students enrolled at the partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.

The tech giant says that every student at these schools will receive an iPad, every teacher and administrator will be given a free iPad and a Mac, and every ConnectED classroom will be equipped with an Apple TV. In addition, a team from Apple will be assigned to each school in order to ensure the technology is used effectively.

The statistics surrounding Apple’s contribution to ConnectED are detailed below.

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Read on here

China Telecom reports healthy financials despite 4G struggles

China’s number three operator China Telecom lost 4 million subscribers in the nine months to September as it struggled to play catchup with the launch of 4G services by larger rivals.

China Telecom’s total subscriber base now stands at 182 million, of which 113 million are 3G users. It had 1.3 million 4G subscribers at the end of September (compared to China Mobile’s 41 million and 2.7 million at China Unicom).

“The decline in the number of mobile subscribers during the period was mainly due to the increasing market competition driven by the launch of LTE services and strengthened marketing promotion by the peers,” noted chairman and CEO Wang Xiaochu in a statement.

Wang stressed that 4G development is a priority for the company, with China Telecom currently deploying LTE technology in 40 mainland cities (via hybrid TDD-FDD LTE trials) amid plans to expand. Wang confirmed reports it will apply for expansion of its hybrid trials as well as a full commercial FDD license. Read more