2015: A "tipping point" year for mobile payments

The GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) is without any doubt the world’s biggest and most influential event on all-things-mobile. The four-day conference and exhibition attracts thousands of executives from around the world, the most influential mobile operators, software companies, equipment providers, internet companies and businesses from virtually all sectors. To be more precise, in 2015 Mobile World Congress hosted more than 93,000 mobile professionals from 200 countries! With mobile becoming the most important platform of today’s users, it’s no wonder that financial industry chose MWC to demonstrate a range of live mobile payment apps from across Europe that will redefine payment industry.

Trending topics for 2015 are wearables and Internet of Things. There are myriads of gadgets made for wearing, such as intelligent payment bracelets, fitness bands, health monitors, smartwatches, data glasses and lenses. Researchers claim this year to be the breaking point for wearables – soon we will all know whether this was just hype among technological pioneers, or a birth of a completely new industry. According to a research carried out by Telefonica, expectations are grand: researchers predict that the wearables market in Europe will double by 2018 from current 5 million EUR value.

The other hot topic is Internet of Things (IoT). This buzzword was very frequently heard in Barcelona. Although the term itself was first coined all the way back in 1999 (representing a network of various, real objects or “things”, embedded with sensors, processors, software, connectivity and smart enough to exchange data with other devices), it is actually still in its nascent stage.Even so, things are accelerating rapidly these days and we can expect major breakthroughs.

One of those is kind of already here: you know it by the name Wave2Pay mobile wallet. It’s our flagship app, and was showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2015. The solution and the Wave2Pay mobile wallet were displayed at the Visa MWC stand, creating interest among visitors and business partners alike. Visa Europe demonstrated a range of state of the art payment solutions from across Europe.

At the moment, the most interesting are the ones using latest versions of Android and its native Host Card Emulation functionality. Interest in HCE technology is fast gaining momentum, with seven live projects in five Visa Europe countries, including Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey. We promoted Wave2Pay solution that is commercially offered by VUB bank in Slovakia, since November 2014.

Mobile economy:

GSMA is the world’s biggest organization representing mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the mobile ecosystem. For each Mobile World Congress, GSMA publishes most recent predictions of the mobile sector in The Mobile Economy. This year’s report is particularly interesting for financial industry as it reveals oncoming trends. Here are the highlights:

  • An additional one billion people will become mobile subscribers over the next five years. The number of unique mobile subscribers will increase from 3.6 billion at the end of 2014 to 4.6 billion by 2020.
  • Almost 60 per cent of the global population will have a subscription to mobile services
  • Mobile penetration will vary widely by region, from nearly 80 per cent in Europe down to only 39 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Smartphones account for 37 per cent of connections in 2014. This number will rise to 65 per cent by 2020.
  • Smartphone adoption is in the range of approximately 60 per cent in the developed world, ranging from 51 per cent in Europe to as much as 70 per cent in North America
  • An additional 2.9 billion smartphone connections are expected by 2020, with the developed world still leading the growth.

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