Appears Myanmar will have two mobile money services in operation by end 2017, raising interconnection issues for which there still is no regulatory mechanism in place. The new mobile money services, M-Pitesan, will enable the telco’s customers to send money instantly within the country. Customers will also be able to buy airtime for themselves or others, said Jacques Voogt, Chief M-Commerce officer for Ooredoo Myanmar. Since the entry of foreign telecom players in 2014, Myanmar has seen its mobile penetration cross 90 per cent. With about 77 per cent of the population lacking access to banking, mobile money services offer an opportunity to drive financial inclusion in the country.
With massive numbers detailed in the Mobile World Live report, Tanzania is the current success story in mobile-led financial services. What caught my attention was the need for interconnection rules if the market has four suppliers. World Bank country director for Tanzania, Somalia, Burundi and Malawi, Bella Bird (pictured) said: “The mobile money revolution has made a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of people who can now send and receive money and thus save at low cost. With more effort, the remaining one-third of Tanzanians could also have access.” According to the latest GSMA Intelligence statistics for Tanzania, by the end of Q1 2016 there were four competing mobile money services available in the country.
The results of the systematic review on the impact of mobile financial services in low- and lower middle-income countries were disseminated on 17 June 2016 at the Microtel Libis in Quezon City, Philippines. Dr. Erwin Alampay, who led the systematic review team, shared the results of the study that showed significantly higher volumes of remittances being received by m-financial service users compared to non-users. The slides can be accessed here. The event was also used as a platform to discuss the status of and issues pertaining to mobile money in the Philippines at large.
EZcash is unusual in that it was developed by one company, but three out of five mobile operators use it. This may be unique. Why can we not see more of these kinds of collaborations? Report and link.
A wide ranging discussion on ICTs carried in a government-owned newspaper I refuse to read. In Sri Lanka the amount of money that we spend on communication is about 700 rupees a month per household on average according to the government survey – According to the Household income and expenditure survey it is about 3.5 percent of our non-food expenditures. “We are getting more and more for the rupee that we spend for communication and we are using it more. So what I see is, the industry has to be very efficient and innovative because people expect more from them, for the same amount of money.
LIRNEasia has always been vocal on Mobile Payment/Mobile money. Under the research theme Mobile 2.0 we looked at both horizontal (Telco and regulations) and vertical (m-payments) aspects of mobile money. In 2009 facilitated by LINREasia, LIRNEasia‘s then Senior Policy Fellow Muhammad Aslam Hayat, wrote on the possibilities of having mobile money in Sri Lanka. Dialog, after many years of negotiations with the regulators, implemented ez Cash in June 2012.
Digicel made its name and fortune in the Caribbean. Then it became a major regional player in the Pacific. Now it is hoping to land a license in Myanmar, a much larger market than the ones its operates in. Interestingly, they are pushing for an enabling framework for mobile money, even ahead of getting the telecom license: “The telecommunications sector offers many opportunities, and companies can provide a variety of services in this industry,” said Lorna J. McPherson, the operations director of the Irish-owned Myanmar Digicel Company.
Good data is hard to come by in Afghanistan. In addition to some data (this below from an Asia Foundation demand-side survey), the report emphasizes the need to encourage mobile money remittances and the availability of agri-market prices. Nine years ago, Afghanistan had between 10,000 and 20,000 fixed lines, and mobile telecommunications were virtually nonexistent. Since then the country has seen explosive growth in mobile subscribers, network providers, and physical infrastructure. The total number of subscriptions is approximately 13 million for a total population of roughly 29 million people, and the annual growth rate of subscription is estimated at 53 percent (2009–10).
LIRNEasia Mobile 2.0 research on potential use of mobile money services among the BOP in emerging Asia has been published in the latest edition of ITID (Vol. 6, Issue 4). The paper entitled, “M-money for the BOP in the Philippines” is authored by Erwin Alampay, LIRNEasia Research Fellow, and Gemma Bala. Abstract This paper explores the reach and use of m-money among the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in the Philippines using survey data from LIRNEasia’s 2008 Mobile 2.
By Erwin A. Alampay Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to present my research on mobile money for remittances in two different conferences, with different audiences (the paper and PPT presentation can be downloaded here and here). On October 10, I presented my research on the use of mobile money for remittances in a panel on Mobile Adoption and Economic Development. This was for a conference held in New Brunswick on Mobile Communications and Social Policy, hosted by the Rutgers School of Information and Communication. Harsha de Silva also presented his paper in the same panel on the “Role of social influence on mobile phone adoption: Evidence from the BOP in emerging Asia.
One of the greatest contributions that can be made to help people pull themselves out of poverty is to facilitate safe, secure, low-cost transactions. Mobile payments which are potentially accessible to almost the entire populations of emerging economies need to be encouraged in this regard. At the beginning of the year, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka indicated it will be making policies for mobile payments. Not having seen much activity on this front, we facilitated a contribution from Muhammed Aslam Hayat, a legal expert currently based in Bangladesh but with extensive regional experience. It was published in the Financial Times, 12 July 2009.