M-commerce still three to five years away

Summary:Technology and users are ready, but lack of standards and cooperation amongst enterprises hinders commercial deployment of mobile payment, says Motorola.

Mobile payments are still three to five years away from commercial deployment in Asia, because collaboration between business entities in the mobile payment ecosystem is still lacking, according to a Motorola executive.

Navin Mehta, Motorola's vice president of home and networks mobility, told ZDNet Asia in an interview that despite the readiness of users in Asia to pay for services using their mobile devices, working out business agreements is proving to be a roadblock to the realization of that.

"The technology hurdles have mostly been crossed," Mehta pointed out. "But getting big monolithic companies to work together toward a common standard--that's another story."

Yet, these enterprises are necessary pieces of the mobile commerce puzzle, said Mehta. A successful mobile ecosystem, he defined, comprises operators, mobile devices, merchants, banks as well as credit cards carried by users.

Mehta's comments echo that of David Vander, Microsoft's managing director of banking for worldwide financial services. Last December, Vander noted that although mobile payments are a compelling payment option for users, the ecosystem of players needs to agree on a common format and be more open.

According to Mehta, for many countries, regulation is often the deciding factor for mobile payment implementation.

"Regulatory issues will either hold back or propel mobile commerce, by either making it difficult to implement or make it mandatory...China and India are still struggling with regulations, for example," he said.

In terms of technology, Mehta said an area that needs addressing is the standardization of payment interfaces across handsets. "Implementing Web standards will help ensure the experience is the same for everyone," he noted.

Another issue, said Mehta, is security, which should be a top priority as hardware and software makers develop devices and applications for m-commerce.

Research firm Informa predicted early last year that m-commerce would generate US$359 million by 2011. Most of the revenues will come from the Asia-Pacific region, according to Informa principal analyst Nick Lane.

Topics: Software, Mobility, Networking

About

Victoria Ho is a tech journalist based in Singapore, whose writing has appeared in publications such as ZDNet, TechCrunch, and The Business Times. When she's not obsessing about IT, you can find her tinkering with music and daydreaming about which guitar to buy next.

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