The number of mobile money subscribers in emerging markets is forecasted to grow from 133 million users in 2010 at a compound annual growth rate of 40% to reach 709 million users in 2015, according to a report from Berg Insight.
The total value of mobile money transactions will simultaneously grow at a CAGR of 54% from US$25bn in 2010 to $215bn in 2015.
Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for more than half of the total user base.
Berg also forecasts that international airtime transfers will grow at a CAGR of 67% from $130m in 2010 to reach $1.67bn in 2015.
“In developing regions such as Africa the mobile phone will become the primary digital channel for people to conduct financial services in the coming years,” said Lars Kurkinen, telecoms analyst at Berg Insight.
“Financial institutions are beginning to realise the importance of mobile phones to reach new clients viewing mobile money services as high-priority strategic projects.”
The report also identifies mobile international value transfer as a high-growth market and an important revenue source for mobile industry players. Berg estimates that $16bn of international money transfers will be received using mobile phones in 2015, up from less than $1bn in 2010.
“Mobile operators and third party service providers are ramping up their efforts to target the huge unbanked populations in emerging markets,” said Kurkinen. “The number of live mobile money services has thus grown at an explosive rate during the past two years and recently reached as many as 300 commercial deployments.”