GSMA Study Counts 30m Active Mobile Money Customers in June 2012

More than 30m people undertook 224.2m mobile money transactions totalling $4.6bn (£3bn) during the month of June 2012 alone. That’s one of the findings of the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) program’s second annual Global Mobile Money Adoption Survey.

The report analyses the state of the mobile money industry in 2012 and illustrates key findings from the programme’s Mobile Money Deployment Tracker, a database that monitors the number of live and planned mobile money services for the unbanked across the globe.

The study identifies 150 live mobile money services for the unbanked, 41 of which were launched in 2012. In addition, the report finds, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive, with 40 markets identified as having at least two different mobile money services available.

“The social impact of mobile money is already well documented, and our report last year offered the first global benchmarks on how many customers were using mobile money,” said Chris Locke, managing director, GSMA Mobile for Development. “Following our second Mobile Money Adoption Survey, we are able to share deeper insights on the number of customers, on how customers are actually using the service and, perhaps more importantly, on how successful operators are positioning and managing mobile money to meet the needs of those customers.”

The report counted 81.8m registered customers globally, and identified six services with more than 1m active customer accounts, three of which have crossed the 1m active customers threshold in the last 12 months.

There are 56.9m registered customers in sub-Saharan Africa and in June 2012, there were twice as many mobile money users as Facebook users in the region. In terms of geographical spread, more than half of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa have live deployments, and 37 per cent of the 166 mobile networks operators in the region have launched mobile money services to date. Mobile money services are currently available in 34 of the 47 countries in the region.

The report also points out that there are now more mobile money accounts than bank accounts in Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda, and more mobile money agent outlets than bank branches in at least 28 countries. And in some countries, the total value of mobile money transactions is equivalent to a significant proportion of the country’s overall GDP; in June 2012, it was equivalent to more than 60 per cent of GDP in Kenya, more than 30 per cent of GDP in Tanzania, and more than 20 per cent of GDP in Uganda.

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