Ericsson after key mobile money role


Swedish company aims to provide a ‘mobile wallet’ service that all networks can plug into

Network infrastructure firm Ericsson says it wants to become the global leader in providing technology to allow consumers to transfer money between mobile wallets.

Mobile wallets allow consumers to link their mobile phones to prepaid accounts, then use their handset to make a payment, rather than using cash or a debit or credit card.

O2 is running trials on its own mobile wallet, the O2 Wallet, which allows consumers to use near field communications (NFC)-enabled handsets to make small payments, by swiping their handset over a reading device installed in shops, or as an Oyster card on the London transport system. O2 plans to offer the product to all its customers later this year.

Earlier this month, Ericsson took its first step into mobile money with the launch of Ericsson Mobile Money Services, a system allowing consumers to use their mobile browser to send money rapidly to other users of the service.

Mobile Money Services is available in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, France and Poland, and lets users with an Ericsson prepay account transfer money to others using a mobile browser, provided they too have an Ericsson prepay account; a restriction it claims is on all mobile wallet services.

However, Ericsson Money Services head of consumer Adam Kerr said Ericsson plans to provide the solution to this problem, by providing a network to handle transactions between different wallets, thus allowing money transfers to any mobile wallet service.

Kerr (pictured) claims Ericsson works with more than a 1,000 mobile networks globally, carrying about 40 per cent of all mobile data traffic across the planet, which gives it a strong advantage over its rivals in providing the service.

“Today, there are something like 100 mobile wallets that have been launched and another 80 or 90 planned for the next 12 months,” said Kerr. “We will look to provide a hub for these networks to connect into, so you can make payments and transfer money between them.”

Ericsson believes the existing Mobile Money Services will be especially appealing to consumers making international money transfers, parents sending money to children at university or abroad, and those who have traditionally made payments in cash for services such as window cleaning or baby-sitting.

“We can provide more options for people to load their accounts, and if we offer more and more convenient services and compelling things to do, it gives them the justification to overcome that barrier.”