Monday, August 01, 2005

M-Commerce: Hype or Reality

A lot has been said in the past about the potential of M-commerce and using cell phones as a wireless wallets . Reuters writes that affer years of hype it just might be getting closer to reality here in the U.S.

Currently, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, long viewed as a global bellwether for new and innovative mobile services, has been leading the way in this area. Reuters states that 2 million of DoCoMo's customers can use "mobile phones with built-in debit cards to pay about 20,000 merchants such as restaurants and supermarkets."

Yankee Group analyst Adam Zawel forecasts "mobile commerce transactions worth over $1.2 billion in Europe in 2009, up from $243 million in 2004, while transactions in Asia will increase to $1.7 billion in 2009 up from $370 million in 2004.

Over here. the growing ring tone market provides hope for some that the U.S. just might be ready to embrace M-commerce as well. Zawel is still a little skeptical, but thinks it might "appeal to organizations including Major League Baseball, which looks to new technologies for quicker ways to get fans into baseball parks."

"If it gets to the point where it's easier to pull out our phone than to pull out cash to pay then consumers will do it," Zawell said.

In order for mobile wallets, such as the cell phone, to become a reality and gain widespread consumer adoption depends on whether the carriers and handset manufacturers can work together to adopt a common payment standard and technology. Retailers and other services won't want to implement more than one system in my book. Cooperation has never been a strongpoint of the U.S. mobile industry so it could be a while before M-commerce comes to a store near you...

via Reuters