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Up to 25 Million US Mobile Phones could become Mobile Wallets by 2011
[April 20, 2006]

Up to 25 Million US Mobile Phones could become Mobile Wallets by 2011

By Satyen K. Bordoloi
TMCnet Contributing Writer

If a report released by the market research firm In-Stat is to be believed, by 2011, as many as 25 million wireless phone subscribers in North America could be using their mobile phones as mobile wallets.

The report states that unlike M-commerce, the mobile transaction concept touted in the 1990s that never really took off, the mobile wallet is a much more versatile application that mixes elements of mobile transactions with other items one can find in a wallet, such as membership cards, loyalty cards and other forms of identification.

In a recent press release, David Chamberlain, an analyst with In-Stat, said, “In-Stat believes that the market can grow only by adopting a technology that offers the most versatility by providing both transaction capability and content discovery. There are several technologies that could enable mobile wallet operations of handsets, including Near Field Communications (NFC), Radio Frequency (RFID), bar codes, and visual recognition. Standardization efforts around NFC may give that system the edge.”

Key findings in the study include:

  • A consumer survey found that the attitudes of US users towards mobile wallets are at best, lukewarm, with roughly one-third of respondents interested, one-third indifferent, and one-third uninterested.
  • The most frequently mentioned barrier to the mobile wallet is added fees for its use (72% of respondents), followed by security concerns about loss of the phone and privacy.
  • Mobile wallet was most appealing to technology innovators and early adopters as well as subscribers who already rely heavily on their wireless phones.
The target of the research, “Mobile Wallet: More than M-Commerce,” was the North American market. It includes forecasts for mobile wallet users in North America from 2005-2010. The report was developed from the results of an online survey of In-Stat’s Technology Adoption Panel (TAP) and interviews with key players in the sector including credit card company JCB, semiconductor vendor Philips, credit card terminal company ViVOtech, and traditional wireless companies such as Nokia (News - Alert) and Cingular (News - Alert) Wireless.

The research is a part of In-Stat’s Mobile Consumer service, which attempts to integrate primary end-user research, strategic industry analysis, technology assessment, and applied econometrics in an attempt to provide a 360-degree view of the US consumer market for mobile wireless services. The research examines the US market for wireless data and multimedia applications, including SMS, MMS, mobile gaming, location-based services, downloadable content, mobile video and music, and wireless Internet services. It also attempts to provide a complete market view by combining analysis of technology trends and consumer behavior, including tracking and forecasting of wireless data spending by segment.
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Satyen K. Bordoloi is a contributing writer for TMCnet.

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