Posts Tagged ‘ europe ’

Transactions of mobile money rise in Europe


Both mobile operators and banks are turning to mobile transactions to foster loyalty and drive revenues, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Ranging from vouchers and bank balance checks to remitttance and top-up payments, mobile money is finally coming to fruition in both the banked and unbanked sector, while near field communication (NFC) promises to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, claims F&S.

The report – Money in Mobile – European Transactions – estimates the mobile money market in Western Europe to grow to 4 to 5 billion Euros by 2013. The research examines both the banked and unbanked sectors and segments mobile money into four areas, namely: non-NFC based m-payments, mobile banking, remittance, and NFC based m-payments.

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Mobile Internet usage to reach 39% in 2014

According to a recent Forrester research report, one out of 3 European consumers will use the Mobile Internet in 5 years from now. 
 The adoption of the mobile platform is set to grow from 13% in 2008 to 39% in 2014.

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Mobile Internet use in Belgium will triple

According to a new Forrester study, the use of the Mobile Internet in Belgium will triple over the next 5 years.    While now only a mere 9% of Belgian mobile users surf the mobile web, this will be 28% in 2014.  Still, this means Belgium still seriously lags behind in Europe, where an average of 39% is expected.  Our Dutch neighbours would even go up to 47%, almost half of the mobile population.

Forrester gives a few explanations for this bad score:
– First of all, the amount of 3G networks is limited, with Base still not offering anything. 
– Secondly, there is (or rather, was) the ban on combined sales, which meant that smartphones are still expensive and are less prominent than in other countries.
– Thirdly and most important, is the lack of flat rate subscriptions. 

So it’s mostly up to the mobile operators, whether or not they want to give a boost to the mobile internet market.  With profit for voice and text decreasing, one would think they are eager to stimulate this mobile platform…

The Phone House and start with combined sales

In April, I reported about the decision of Europe that the Belgian ban on combined sales was not conform the European legislation.  Even though the Belgian law has not yet been adapted to officially allow combined sales, the first offerings can now be found on the market.

In a press release, the online store claims to be the first to offer a free mobile phone for everyone who signs for a new mobile subscription.  The Phone House promotes a mini-PC, for which the reduction depends on the amount of additional services that are bought with it, such as insurance, internet subscription or Belgacom TV.


Belgian ban on combined sales judged illegal by Europe

Might Belgium finally be getting rid of the ban on combined sales?
The European Court has judged this ban is not conform the European legislation and should be lifted.

As we’ve argued many times before, allowing combined sales would open up a lot of marketing opportunities.

The ban that exists in Belgium has come under pressure recently after the expensive introduction of the Apple iPhone.  The popular mobile device costs 525,- Euro in a Mobistar store, while in other countries it’s offered for a few euros or even for free if combined with a mobile subscription.  In Belgium this combination is not possible.

However, there were several examples of promo offerings that existed in a grey zone.  Just think of Cardoen, who recently offered a cheap car for free if you bought an expensive car. 
Total also had a campaign, offering free car trouble assistance if you bought a certain amount of petrol.  Organisation for automobile users VAB brought this campaign to European Court, argumenting it’s a form of combined sales.
Europe has now ruled that the campaign should be allowed, because the ban on combined sales is against European legislation.
This opens the door to Belgian legislation to abolish this ban, something that has not only been argued on this blog, but also by minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.  He has reacted positively after the decision of the Court and plans to ban the ban by law.

Mobile payment: with chip or by sms

Pay by mobile chipEarlier this month, European mobile operators (represented by the GSM Association) and European banks (represented by the European Payments Council) have reached an agreement to collaborate on mobile payments.  Together they want to look for an easy way to link a mobile phone to a bank account. 

Mobile payments would be made possible with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which means the mobile phone has an integrated NFC-chip which can be scanned to make a payment.
The collaboration is an effort to create a standard for mobile payments, which now knows many different technologies and services.  But first banks and operators have to come to an agreement on the financing of NFC-networks.  Second obstacle is that all consumers need a mobile phone with the NFC-chip.

Personally, I don’t think a hardware solution should be used for mobile payments.  Of all current mobile payment solutions, SMS payment still seems the easiest and most effective one.  Mostly because sending SMS messages is so easy, common and popular.  Everyone can do it and everyone does.

So I’d rather encourage initiatives like the one of Rabobank, who introduced their service

With this service, everyone can open a mobile wallet which can be credited with a certain amount of money.  To make a SMS payment, you just send a SMS to the shortcode 6689, including the mobile phone number of the recipient, the amount you wish to transfer and a description.  The recipient can use the transferred money to create his own mobile wallet or he can transfer it to his own bank account (though a fee is asked here).

The recipient can be a web shop but also an other individual.  And Rabobank especially wants to target the latter.  A practical exemple are friends in a bar: one of them pays the bill and instead of having to count their coins, the others can pay him back by SMS.  This way, the need to have enough cash in your pocket disappears.  So maybe we can finally get rid of those annoying bronze eurocents…

European Commission wants lower SMS tariffs

In February 2008, European Commissioner Viviane Reading urged the mobile operators in Europe to lower their roaming tariffs for international SMS messages. Between October 2007 and March 2008, the average cost of a roaming text message was 0,29 euro.  Since Reading’s call, it has lowered only to 0,28 euro.  Still too much for Reading, so she’s taking the lead herself now. 

She is following the advise of the European Group of Regulators (ERG), which proposes an average price between 0,11 and 0,15 euro per SMS, and will make a proposal in October to submit SMS tariffs to European regulation.  The European Commission will also examine whether measures have to be taken concerning data roaming costs, which are still too high as well. 

The ERG itself hopes regulation won’t be necessary and urges the sector to be ‘attentive’ towards data roaming prices.