Tell us about your role at Ericsson
I’m the VP and head of M-Commerce at Ericsson. My role as Ericsson’s global chief executive of M-Commerce involves making sure our vision, strategy, technical platform, partners and business models are optimal to achieve financial inclusion globally.
Could you give us some background on Ericsson's mobile financial services technology?
The freedom to send, spend and receive money with a mobile phone is quickly becoming an essential part of life for billions of people. It's a strong driver of ubiquitous access to mobile money, and a great business opportunity. It also calls for change, a change where existing payment networks are connected and interoperable making mcommerce as easy as sending an SMS. We are driving this change to make money more open by orchestrating collaboration between banks and operators and developing secure, flexible mobile commerce platforms that help build an interconnected and transparent financial ecosystem. We believe that when banks and operators collaborate to make money open, everyone will benefit.
Turning the mobile phone into a means of payment is at the heart of any mobile commerce offering. Ericsson Wallet Platform provides this capability with software that enables secure and convenient mobile payment services for consumers. Money transfers, in-store purchases, coupons, bills and salary payments can all be done quickly and securely. We designed the Ericsson Wallet Platform because we know that mobile financial services are an important part of the future success of banks and mobile operators – and of building a Networked Society with global financial inclusion.
What do you regard as the key challenges facing players in mobile financial services?
The largest challenge is execution. Many governments, non-profit/profit organizations, banks, telecom-operators and vendors are trying to find a way to enable their citizens to achieve financial inclusion, but it’s going too slow. According to our consumer research mobile telecom operators together with banks are the most trusted parties by consumers to provide mobile financial services. However, several other players are moving into mobile payments so the mobile operators need to increase the pace if they want to win increased revenues and profit from this new high-potential revenue steam.
There is also a great opportunity for mobile operators to play a critical role in addressing worldwide financial inclusion. The successful service providers are driving mobile financial services as a separate business area within their organizations. They have a very high focus on creating service uptake and going from activated wallets to active wallets. The activation problem needs to be addressed with new unique services and offerings, to encourage users to use mobile financial services more extensively rather than cashing out. Finally, telcos and banks must run mobile services that are secure, stable, scalable and flexible enough to enable business innovation and a trustworthy service operation.
What do you perceive as the primary disruptive factors in mobile financial services?
We see many initiatives across the industry but few players have been bold enough yet. We believe there is a big opportunity for mobile operators to rule this category and be disruptive if they allocate sufficient budgets to drive customer activations as well as merchant activations. So far we have seen many platform deployments but with limited uptake.
To be disruptive we need to drive uptake of these services. We are looking for mobile operators who want to partner with us and play to win in mobile payments with the right investments into customer and merchant activations. That is why we have launched a comprehensive business growth program that goes beyond technology into best practices to drive activations as well as regulatory outreach.
Going forward the roll-out of mobile broadband and smartphone usage into remaining emerging markets will be key for more advanced services but also for a broader usage among new groups. The service providers that do not take the necessary steps and actions now will see OTT-players step in and disrupt the current ecosystem. In order to move forward and succeed, the incumbents now have to get the ecosystem to work before the new players enter their home turf. As for banks, they now need to get to the next 1bn customers with a much more cost-efficient model.
What do you like best about Juniper Research?
In our business planning we use market research data from many different sources and we have experienced Juniper Research as a credible partner for this purpose. We also recognize Juniper Research's work within the Digital Commerce and Payments area.