Mobile Money to Boom in Emerging Markets

The number of mobile money subscribers in emerging markets is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 per cent, from 133m users in 2010, to 709m users in 2015, according to the latest research from Berg Insight.

The total value of mobile money transactions will simultaneously grow at a CAGR of 54 per cent from $25bn in 2010, to $215bn in 2015. Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for more than half of the total user base.

“In developing regions such as Africa, the mobile phone will become the primary digital channel for people to conduct financial services in the coming years,” notes Lars Kurkinen, telecom analyst at Berg Insight. Financial institutions are beginning to realize the importance of mobile phones to reach new clients viewing mobile money services as high-priority strategic projects. Also, mobile operators and third party service providers are ramping up their efforts to target the huge unbanked populations in emerging markets. The number of live mobile money services has thus grown at an explosive rate during the past two years, and recently reached as many as 300 commercial deployments.”

The report also identifies mobile international value transfer as a high-growth market and an important revenue source for mobile industry players. Berg Insight estimates that $16bn worth of international money transfers will be received using mobile phones in 2015, up from less than $1bn billion in 2010. The analyst also forecasts that international airtime transfers will grow at a CAGR of 67 per cent, from $130m in 2010, to reach $1.67bn in 2015.