Nashua forecasts mobile banking revolution

 ·10 Feb 2012
Tim Walter

Where First National Bank (FNB) leads, applications are expected to follow – as SA banks undergo a mobile banking revolution, according to forecasts from Nashua Mobile, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the JSE-listed Reunert Group (RLO).

Tim Walter, executive head of marketing at Nashua Mobile expects a hive of innovation and activity in mobile banking in SA in 2012.

“The cellphone is already one of the biggest electronic banking channels in South Africa, although many of the services most commonly used are based on old technologies such as SMS and USSD. But this year, we’ll see a flurry of mobile banking activity as the banks position themselves for a mobile banking revolution.

“Expect plenty of action on the application front. FNB led the charge in 2011 with its tablet and smartphone deals aimed at getting mobile devices into its customers’ hands, as well as rich apps for mobile banking. The others are likely to emulate its success,” he said.

The marketing lead also pointed to Near Field Communications (NFC) as a trend to watch this year. NFC is a short-range wireless technology that would enable people to use their mobile phone as a wallet.

“Some South African banks are already trialling the technology and most new mid-to-high range smartphones already feature NFC. Though it won’t be deployed commercially this year, expect the banks to experiment and investigate NFC very thoroughly during 2012,” Walter said.

“The costs of mobile data have fallen dramatically, but I don’t see much scope for them to tumble too much further until more spectrum-efficient technologies such as LTE are deployed widely by the South African networks.”

Nashua Mobile forecasts more activity in the Wi-Fi space in 2012. “Already, cellular networks are congested in the metros and deliver patchy performance on the best of days.

“I expect to see Wi-Fi networks prosper as a result – many users will use cheaper and faster hotspot access from their tablets, smartphones and notebooks when they can over cellular data services,” Walter said.

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