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The Brave New Mobile Ecosystem – Reflections from Mobey Day 2012

John Worthy


United Kingdom

The Brave New Mobile Ecosystem – Reflections from Mobey Day 2012

The mobile payments industry converged in Barcelona on 21 March to brainstorm some of the opportunities and challenges facing this sector.  Organised by the Mobey Forum and Finextra and hosted by La Caixa, the Mobey Day attracted over 280 participants.

One of the panel sessions focused on the brave new mobile ecosystem, addressing the big question: How will banks, operators, merchants and telcos work together to bring mobile commerce to a waiting public?

This debate featured Amir Tabakovic, Head of Market Development at PostFinance, Wim Westerhof, Programme Director at Program Sixpack, Tomasz Smilowicz, Global Head of Mobile Solutions at Citi, Jorge Campos, Product Manager at Gemalto and John Worthy, Partner, Fieldfisher, in a discussion moderated by Liz Lumley of Finextra.  While a few short paragraphs are inadequate to capture the entire panel discussion, a number of key points emerged:

  • Focussing the business case: the panellists recognised the central need to create a robust business case for mobile payment services.  In an emerging landscape, there would often be challenges in creating (and evaluating) the business case. Many major players have seen the attractions of collaborative venturing, with the opportunity to share risk and address a joint market, whether by cooperation within one sector or across different sectors. In addition, in a collaborative project, the business case should reflect the complementary roles and responsibilities of all parties.
  • Collaboration models: while corporate joint ventures have been well publicised as a popular model for collaboration, the market shows plenty of examples of other models being used successfully.  These include collaborative contractual ventures, partnering, hosting or similar approaches.  The vital issue in each case is to ensure that the collaboration structure supports the business model and is consistent with the shared vision of all parties.
  • Customer ownership: the panellists recognised the focus on customer ownership but challenged whether this was the most appropriate terminology.  Most customers would not want to be "owned" by their bank/mobile operator/merchant.  In practical terms, players should recognise that there are numerous relationships with the customer, all of which will be affected by the way the mobile payment product is presented.  One of the most significant issues is ensuring data protection/privacy compliance in the customer data (and foreseeing regulatory change, such as from the new EU data protection regulation).  Equally important is how the parties to a collaboration share the relevant intellectual property rights and database access (whether for legacy customers of the collaborating businesses or for "joint" customers of the new venture).
  • Lessons learned: a major question was what lessons could be learned from mobile payments projects in the past.  For many panellists, this centred on the need to focus the business case on how the product adds value to the customer, in terms of additional functionality, or by saving time and offering greater convenience.  In all these projects (and particularly collaborative deals), an effective governance structure is essential to enable any areas of concern to be identified and resolved early, as well as to allow the collaboration to respond effectively to changes in market conditions or new opportunities.

Publications Other publications from Fieldfisher on mobile payments include:


For further information please contact John Worthy, Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP.

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