My e-journey – over 40 years. Part 5. Mobile rungs in the ladder and Mobey forum

The first rung on the mobile ladder was the word synthesizer for push-button phone payments that emerged in 1982. As soon as mobile phones appeared, you could use them to pay wirelessly. One advertisement shows a man sitting on the ice fishing, with a chunky Nokia cellphone next to him.

The next step was SMS-based balance and transaction reporting, which was introduced in the early 1990s. Its rocket-like launch opened our eyes to the importance of a
dimension always-on and always-there device was about to become.

The much announced Internet in your pocket started with WAP phones. Payments was rolled out quickly and we even started trading stocks in WAP – but didn’t achieve significant overall usage volumes – mainly due to the high cost of communication, which the local press made a fuss about. GPRS made it cheaper and faster – but customers were so used and hooked on PC banking (gradually more at home than modems became commonplace). And of course, cell phones in the 90’s had small single color screens.

In the late 90’s there was a lot of hype in the press about it Teleoperators getting into payment services – either through the phone bill or by adding payment card services to the SIM cards. Restricting the role of the banks seems to be an ever-recurring wishful thinking in some places.

To get a solid model for mobile banking, mobile remote and proximity payments and ID services, Nordea, Nokia, Visa, Motorola, Ericsson and a dozen leading global banks have established it in 2000. I served as Chair for the first year and am very pleased as an Honorary Member to see how 22 years later it is over 50 members, high activity and that
The latest focus is on ID/fact wallets.

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The first goal of the Mobey Forum in 2000 was to improve customer mobility by creating an open model where you could choose
every bank, cell phone and teleoperator and change one or two of them without having to start from scratch. This instead of walled gardens that limit choice, competition and acceptance. Not much will happen anywhere without open competition. The way there led through a a bank-issued smart card in SIM format in the phone – as easy to change as a SIM card – and available from all banks. This progressed to good prototype phones ready for mass production – but the challenges in the profitability of the mobile phone market left Nokia alone on the scene and this noble cause lost momentum. Described here:

Teleoperators have now come to the conclusion that the regulated payments market, with so many risks and costly know-your-customer procedures, is not for them. Important steps on the way to devices were the full breakthrough of the smartphone, the billion-dollar fraudulent elimination of bank IDs integrated into remote card payments (first in Scandinavia), e-bills arrived announced by SMS and when due by pressing Paid by A, Apple and Android Mainly pay for the daily proximity payments
face recognition (no PIN required..) and the same remote identification user experience for public sector and private services that require a strong ID. To name a few.. This will make a leap with the upcoming ID/Factwallets where you can download your eIDAS2 StateID among other credentials and also use it for nearby age verification etc. We’ll come back to that later.

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Lessons learned:

(i) start early and keep going even if the first version doesn’t take off. If you hate it too much, there might not be a second version until much later

(ii) Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

(iii) open standards, 4-corner competition driving models against walled gardens should be a starting point