New Ventures in Financial Services

Focus on Payments and Mobile

NokiaMoney Update

with 2 comments

November 13, 2009

Nokia is making quite a few bets in this space. Their investments certainly make economic sense as helping the unbanked will also provide handset growth for the “unphoned”. Perhaps Nokia’s strategic vision is to enable a standard “financial operating system” that can be leveraged by Banks, MNOs and Consumers.  However, if you look at the regulations in places like India, china, Indonesia.. you will find that Banks/ MFIs control “payments”. The services listed above are very, very similar to the “future” services listed on Obopay India (Top up , bill pay)…

This article is curious as it conflicts with itself: “will enable people without bank accounts in emerging markets to transfer money” and “the service requires a banking licence”. The focus of this initial offering is India (95% confidence), hence statement “requires a banking license” and they are looking for a customer.  The correct wording for this article doesn’t sound as positive  “it COULD allow people without bank accounts to transfer money.. if the regulators would let us, since they won’t we have to sell it to a bank first”.

There are many challenges for Nokia if they are trying to brand this service: who are they selling to? Banks? MNOs? NokiaMoney (aka Obopay) offerings (bill pay, transfer, and top up) all overlap with what BOTH banks and MNOs are providing to banked customers TODAY. The Obopay model is the SENDER PAYS.

I think there is an opportunity for NokiaMoney to develop a “financial operating system” for mobile. But it should probably start with open standards (take an android approach), and then develop a separate content business to support it. Wrapping Obopay in yet another package (putting make up on a pig) only works until it is unwrapped.

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Written by tomnoyes

November 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. […] As we look a cash replacement we will find that initiatives are frequent and success is not. It remains to be seen HOW the highly regulated world will evolve.  In the long term, Capital is attracted to success and growth. What we see today is a period of enormous flux and experimentation with established players making multiple “bets” (in the form of investment capital and revenue guarantees). Investments from established companies are in the form both in-house and partner led initiatives (examples: Citi Obopay, Obopay India, Nokia Obopay). […]

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