Mobile Commerce

Global Mobile Economy Shows No Signs Of Slowdown

State Of Mobile Money

The mobile money market is continuing to not only grow, but also have an increasing impact on lives, economies and innovation.

This week, the GSMA released the results of its annual State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, which highlighted the global success of mobile money and provided a snapshot of the current landscape.

According to the report, at the end of 2016 there are more than half a billion registered mobile money accounts available across 277 live services in 92 countries. Today, mobile money reaches roughly 66 percent of low- and middle-income markets, showing a huge achievement in the decade since the pioneering launch of M-Pesa in Kenya.

“Giving underserved people access to digital payments has expanded financial inclusion to hundreds of millions of people in developing countries and has enabled them to be more secure, more empowered and more active contributors to local communities,” Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA, said in a press release. “Mobile operators have been at the center of this success story. The reach and impact of their services provides a clear example of how important the mobile industry is to ensuring achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”

Mobile money remains a key driver of economic growth and success in many emerging markets, specifically when it is used to formalize payments, increase transparency and boost gross domestic product (GDP). By the end of last year, mobile money providers processed 1.3 billion transactions, averaging nearly 30,000 transactions a minute, the GSMA confirmed.

From the emergence of mobile money nearly a decade ago, the report charts the path to the accelerated financial inclusion many markets have experienced as a result of mobile money and the continued impact on business models, regulation, interoperability and broader economic benefits.

“In just 10 years, mobile money has made amazing strides. With 2 billion people still excluded from financial services, mobile money’s potential for the future is greater still. Over the next decade, the industry needs to work together to place the transformational power of mobile money in the hands of those who need it most,” Granryd added.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the report:

  1. By the end of last year, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population had a mobile subscription, which amounted to a total of 4.8 billion unique subscribers.
  2. The shift to mobile broadband networks and smartphones is being driven by a significant uptick in 4G technologies. The number of 4G connections is expected to double by the end of the decade.
  3. Total mobile revenues hit a second consecutive year of rising revenue growth in 2016, jumping 2.2 percent (reaching $1.05 trillion) compared to 2015.
  4. By 2020, it’s expected that almost three quarters of the world’s population — or 5.7 billion people — will subscribe to mobile services.
  5. Mobile technologies and services generated 4.4 percent of the global GDP, which equaled around $3.3 trillion of economic value.
  6. The GSMA is forecasting that this amount will rise to more than $4.2 trillion (4.9 percent of GDP) by 2020.
  7. Approximately 28 million jobs were supported by the mobile ecosystem in 2016.
  8. At the end of 2016, nearly 174 million mobile money accounts were active (on a 90-day basis).
  9. Due to the proliferation of mobile services, the average cost of sending global remittances using mobile money is less than half the cost of using a traditional global money transfer operator.
  10. By 2025, 5G networks will cover a third of the world’s population.


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