Airtel announce 1 million users to m-commerce services

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Despite economic headwinds, smartphones and mobile data usage are swiftly increasing their presence in consumer’s lives. Retailers, large and small, online and bricks-and-mortar, are experimenting with and enjoying positive returns from their mobile marketing and sales initiatives.

Remote m-payments, payments made using the mobile channel without payment-related POS hardware, represent a new channel for retailers to reach the always-on Gen X and Gen Y consumer.

This report from Mercator Advisory Group examines how leading merchants are approaching the mobile channel and how the smartphone is giving merchants the opportunity to place their store in the consumer”s pocket. The report examines the remote payment opportunity and forecasts significant growth for this underappreciated channel.

Highlights include:

Software only m-commerce offerings are evolving into remote payments mechanisms for closed loop applications by a range of digital content and physical goods retailers.Mercator forecasts smartphone based remote m-payments to reach $389 million in 2009, $1.7 billion in 2011, and $8.6 billion in 2014.With 40 million mobile web users expected to rise 50% in 2009 and almost 75% of mobile subscribers accessing data services (principally SMS) this channel is getting wider and richer faster than anticipated.The lock mobile network operators have held on m-payments is weakening quickly as applications and mobile web replay a mobile version of the internet”s "smart devices, dumb pipes" model.Remote m-payments are an opportunity representing hundreds of millions of new annual transactions and PayPal appears to be positioning itself to take the lead in this new category.

"Smartphones have kick-started mobile commerce into gear and because of their access to the consumer, merchants have fired up their mobile storefronts. Payments are following and they are not willing to wait for NFC to arrive," comments George Peabody, director, Mercator Advisory Group. "The remote payment proposition has been largely off the radar of many in the payments industry. But merchants with an eye on customer experience management and relationship building see mobile as a direct avenue to their consumers. Innovation and opportunity will highlight the next few years as consumers download mobile malls onto their handsets and transaction volumes grow."

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