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Global Mobile Operators: Strategies in Payments, Banking, Insurance and Assistance is a report and interactive PartnerBASE dataset that provides a detailed worldwide overview of the fast-growing involvement of mobile operator brands and groups in financial services. For 286 brands spread across 92 countries, it outlines their activity and strategic partnerships for over 20 separate financial product and service categories as follows:

- payments: payments via linked bank card / account, payments via direct carrier billing, payments via network account, talktime / credit transfer;

- banking: mobile banking (bank current accounts); credit cards (non-virtual); prepaid cards (non-virtual); consumer finance / micro-credits;

- insurance: mobile phone, mobile gadget, bill payment protection, identity protection, motor, household, travel, accident, health, life;

- assistance: home, legal, medical, road.

Across all 286 brands researched, Finaccord identified a total of over 1,250 distinct product initiatives and partnerships involving more than 500 banking institutions, payment companies, technology firms, insurance providers and assistance entities. Moreover, within a separate analysis, Finaccord summarises the main strategic moves made in financial services by the leading 60 mobile telecoms groups worldwide.

Table Of Contents

Global Mobile Operators: Strategies in Payments, Banking, Insurance and Assistance

Finaccord's research covers 60 major mobile telecoms groups and 286 country-specific operator brands 2
At a strategic level, leading telecoms groups are most active in the field of mobile payments. 2
. with many also having made mobile banking an important focus for development 2
North America hosts the highest proportion of mobile payment schemes with contactless functionality. 2
. and Africa and the Middle East the lowest 4
Mobile wallets (such as the M-PESA platform) are typically run by the mobile operators themselves 4
Co-branded credit card programs remain more widespread than their prepaid equivalents 4
An increasing proportion of mobile operator brands are offering mobile phone and gadget insurance. 4
. with programs most widespread in North America and in Southern and Western Europe 6
Some mobile operators distribute free insurance policies based on customers' top-up payments 6
The provision of assistance services via mobile operators is particularly strong in Latin America 6
Mobile telecoms groups and brands are likely to up their game in financial services for several reasons 6
The current worldwide structure of mobile financial services is both complex and fragmented 7
OTT services are liable to cause a significant change in the mobile payments landscape 7
In future, leading mobile telecoms groups are likely to work with a smaller number of large providers 7
What is this report about? 8
This study updates Finaccord's analysis of the involvement of mobile operators in financial services. 8
. covering over 1,250 distinct product initiatives and deals with more than 500 partner organisations 8
Rationale 8
Mobile operators can be key affinity distribution partners in payments, banking, insurance and assistance 8
Methodology 9
Primary research 9
The research covers 60 mobile operator groups and 286 brands across over 90 countries 9
External sources 9
Definitions 9
Payment, banking, insurance and assistance products and services 9
Other terms 12
Operating models 13
Unweighted and weighted share of partnerships 13
Interactive PartnerBASE 14
Finaccord 14
Introduction 16
Summary of groups researched 16
By total number of subscribers, China Mobile is by far the largest of the 60 groups investigated 16
The global market for mobile payments 16
The worldwide market for mobile payments has increased exponentially in recent years 16
Group strategic approaches to mobile financial services 18
Most leading telecoms groups are pursuing mobile payments as a strategic opportunity. 18
. although some have devolved strategy formulation to national mobile operator brands 18
In the developing world, mobile payments have become a feature of daily life for many consumers 18
The 'low-tech' model will continue to be relevant… 18
…while 'high-tech' options have yet to live up to perennial expectations 20
The rise of biometric security features provides a possible solution to mobile payment security issues 21
Apple's iPay and Google Wallet are competing head to head 21
Direct carrier billing has become an important worldwide payment method for digital goods. 21 benefitting competitors such as Bango, Boku and Fortumo 21
Talktime and call credit transfer remain the simplest means of transferring funds worldwide 22
Telecoms groups are less likely to enter into tied agreements for mobile banking than for mobile payments 22
User authentication may prove a valuable service for mobile operators to provide for banks. 22
. as developed by Avea and Turkcell in Turkey and the BankID initiative in Norway 22
Banking product initiatives are usually arranged by mobile operators at a country-specific level. 24
. which is also the case for insurance products. 25
…albeit some firms combine central planning with country-specific insurance partnerships. 25
. for both mobile phone and gadget cover plus other types of insurance 26
Telefónica and Vodafone have both set up insurance captives. 27
. while Japan's KDDI has established a joint venture 27
Centrally organised assistance schemes are especially prevalent in Latin America. 27
. as evidenced by services promoted by America Móvil, Millicom and Telefónica 27
Group ownership and partnership strategies in mobile financial services 29
The creation of captive and joint venture companies is an option for mobile telecoms groups. 29
. with outright or partial ownership almost inevitably the outcome of centralised decisions 29
Captives in payments, banking, insurance and assistance 29
32 captives owned by the telecoms groups themselves are involved in mobile financial services 29
PayBox Bank is primarily a mobile payment provider although also holds a banking license 29
Telenor operates a fully licensed captive bank in Serbia following its acquisition of KBC Bank 30
Swisscom allows customers of rival customers to utilise its Tapit mobile payment product 30
SK Group's Syrup aims to integrate loyalty and discount functions with a mobile payment scheme 30
A further six mobile groups make use of captive (or sister) insurance or assistance providers 30
Joint ventures in payments, banking, insurance and assistance 32
Most joint ventures in mobile financial services are focused on payments and banking. 32
. and some have been configured among two or more mobile telecoms groups. 32
. with banks and / or technology companies also participating 32
Taiwan Mobile Payment involves over 30 banks, other agencies, payment networks and mobile operators 32
Japan's KDDI is co-owner of a joint venture retail bank in the shape of Jibun Bank 32
Some established and proposed joint ventures (such as Wanda) have failed to work out 34
In the UK, Apple's iPay and the planned launch of Zapp have affected the market 34
Softcard's app is being withdrawn by major mobile operators in the US 34
Strategic partnerships with banks 34
Wirecard works as a strategic partner with both SFR and Vodafone 34
Prepaid mobile operator cards are often linked to bank-driven payment schemes 34
Strategic partnerships with insurance and assistance companies 35
ACE and Assurant both benefit from seemingly close relationships with major telecoms group 35
In future, it is possible that major telecoms groups will seek to offer more products with fewer providers 35
Strategic partnerships with payment and payment-related technology companies 36
Gemalto is used as a strategic partner by several groups and at a local level by numerous operators 36
Several other technology companies provide support for mobile payments, especially via NFC 36
Monitise and Wirecard are significant competitors in the mobile operator payments sector 36
MasterCard and Visa have become two of the most important payment partners for mobile payments. 37
. with American Express, PayPal and Western Union also competing in this space 37
Introduction 38
Summary of brands researched 39
Over 50% of mobile phone subscribers are concentrated in one geographical region 39
Vodafone is the owner (or co-owner) of 23 of the mobile operator brands researched 40
Provision of payment and banking products 42
Overall provision rates 42
Globally, the most common type of mobile payment product is direct carrier billing… 42
…while co-branded credit cards are more widespread than co-branded prepaid cards 42
Linked bank cards or bank accounts 44
Several large European and North American brands offer payments via linked bank card / account 44
In Latin America, the payment type is restricted to leading brands in a smaller number of countries 44
China's UnionPay holds the highest weighted share of issuer partnerships in this field. 46
…and also claims the highest share of payment network partnerships 47
Direct carrier billing 48
Almost all mobile subscribers have access to direct carrier billing in four out of seven regions 48
Fortumo takes the highest share of direct carrier billing partnerships by a substantial margin 49
An expansion of Zong's services to other areas would make it a major competitor in this sphere 49
Network accounts 50
Payments via network accounts are most prominent in Africa and the Middle East. 50
. partly because mobile phones are seen as a key method of promoting financial inclusion 50
Network account providers from China, India and Indonesia lead the weighted rankings… 52
…although Vodafone's M-PESA product is potentially the most popular worldwide 52
A majority of network accounts run on private networks 53
Contactless payment is more common for linked bank cards and accounts than for network accounts 54
Smartphone apps are most commonly a feature of payments in North America and parts of Europe 55
Talktime / call credit transfer 56
Talktime / call credit transfer is an important peer-to-peer payment method in several regions 56
Mobile banking (bank current accounts) 57
Qualifying mobile banking schemes are especially visible in India. 57
. albeit China Merchants Bank is the mobile banking partner with the largest potential audience 59
Credit cards (non-virtual) 60
Co-branded (non-virtual) credit cards developed with mobile operators are most visible in Latin America 60
Citibank works with a number of substantial mobile operators for co-branded credit cards. 61
. as does Itáu 61
MasterCard's share of network partnerships is somewhat higher than that of Visa in this arena 62
Prepaid cards (non-virtual) 63
Co-branded non-virtual prepaid cards developed by mobile operators are in evidence in all seven regions. 63
. most notably in North America 63
Partnerships with mobile operators for prepaid cards are spread across a wide range of providers 65
. albeit MasterCard and Visa again dominate as payment networks 66
International payments / remittances 67
A minority of mobile operators promote international payment or remittance services 67
Unistream is the most prominent provider thanks to partnerships with three Russian mobile operators 68
Consumer finance and micro-credits 69
Consumer finance or micro-credit options are available in six of the seven regions surveyed 69
Japan's DCMX and Nigeria's Diamond Bank have major mobile operator partnerships in this sphere 71
Miscellaneous payment and banking products 72
A handful of mobile operators offer other types of payment or banking product 72
These include an investment account offered through China Telecom by Bestpay and a local bank 73
Operating models for payment and banking products 74
The split of operating models varies greatly by type of payment or banking service 74
Provision of insurance and assistance products 77
Overall provision rates 77
113 mobile operator brands have schemes for mobile phone insurance up and running. 77
… and 159 intermediate at least one form of insurance or assistance 77
Various niche insurance and assistance policies are also on offer from a handful of mobile operators 77
Mobile phone insurance 79
There has been a modest increase in the worldwide provision rate for mobile phone insurance. 79
. although availability still varies substantially by region 79
Through their mobile operator partnerships, Asurion and Assurant have access to the most subscribers. 81
…with ACE ranked third based largely on its multi-country link with Vodafone 81
Marsh is used as scheme administrator in a number of cases 81
Mobile gadget insurance 83
Operators selling mobile gadget cover are most widespread in North America and two European regions 83
The most prominent providers in this field are broadly similar to those visible for mobile phone insurance 85
Bill payment protection insurance 86
This type of cover is on offer from a handful of brands spread across five of the seven regions. 86
. with Assurant and ACE the most prominent providers in the weighted analysis 87
Identity protection insurance and assistance 88
Identity protection cover is only ever available embedded within a broader insurance policy 88
Motor insurance 90
Few mobile operators have seen fit to market motor insurance to their subscribers. 90
. albeit Turkey's Avea has introduced a car insurance comparison and brokerage service 91
Household insurance 92
Likewise, the availability rate for household insurance via mobile operators is also quite low. 92
. with two of five schemes in evidence having been established in Brazil 93
Travel insurance and assistance 94
Travel cover is sold by 35 of the mobile operator brands investigated. 94
. with ACE claiming four significant partnerships in this domain 95
Accident insurance 96
Globally, almost 30% of mobile subscribers have access to accident cover through a mobile operator. 96
. with the two most prominent relationships having been established in China 97
Health insurance 98
Health insurance is offered by mobile operators in five of the seven regions surveyed 98
New China Life claims the partnership generating the highest weighted share 99
MicroEnsure is active in this and other fields in several countries 99
Life insurance 100
Mobile operator schemes for life insurance are most widespread in Africa and the Middle East. 100
…with many fitting the definition of micro-insurance and / or offered for free to prepaid subscribers 100
PICC's link with China Mobile makes it the leader by weighted share of partnerships 102
Bima is a notable player in this and other micro-insurance sectors 102
Home assistance 103
Home assistance is available as an optional extra from over a half of mobile brands in Latin America. 103
. usually as part of a bundle of assistance services 103
By weighted share of partnerships, three providers control over a half of the potential market 105
Legal assistance 106
Legal assistance is only available from mobile operators in Latin America 106
Patrimonial Inbursa holds the highest weighted share, thanks to its partnership with Telcel in Mexico 107
Medical assistance 108
Medical assistance is available from mobile operators in four of the seven regions investigated 108
Prominent providers include Healthfore in India and American Assist in Latin America 109
Road assistance 110
Schemes for road assistance through mobile operators are most numerous in the Americas 110
Allstate's Signature Motor Club and Asurion are both important players in this context 111
Miscellaneous insurance and assistance 112
Personal assistance is the most widely available ‘miscellaneous' policy type 112
The broad array of product providers reflects the wide range of insurance and assistance types on offer 114
Operating models for insurance and assistance products 115
A majority of mobile operator insurance and assistance schemes are set up with a single external partner. 115
. albeit a few are run internally or via a captive or joint venture entity 115
Using the interactive PartnerBASE file 118
Profiles in the interactive PartnerBASE file 118
2degrees (New Zealand) 119
3 (Austria) 120
3 (Hong Kong) 121
3 (Indonesia) 122
3 (Ireland) 123
3 (Italy) 124
3 (Sweden) 125
3 (UK) 126
A1 (Austria) 127
Aircel (India) 128
airtel (Ghana) 129
airtel (India) 130
airtel (Kenya) 131
airtel (Nigeria) 132
airtel (Tanzania) 133
airtel (Uganda) 134
AIS (Thailand) 135
Antel (Uruguay) 136
APT - Asia Pacific Telecom (Taiwan) 137
ATandT Mobillity (US) 138
au (Japan) 139
Avea (Turkey) 140
Bakrie Telecom (Indonesia) 141
BASE (Belgium) 142
Beeline (Kazakhstan) 143
Beeline (Russia) 144
Bell Mobility (Canada) 145
BH Mobile (Bosnia Herzegovina) 146
Bouygues Telecom (France) 147
BSNL (India) 148
Cable and Wireless (Panama) 149
Celcom (Malaysia) 150
Cell C (South Africa) 151
Cellcom (Israel) 152
Ceria Mobile (Indonesia) 153
China Mobile (China) 154
China Telecom (China) 155
China Unicom (China) 156
Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan) 157
Claro (Argentina) 158
Claro (Brazil) 159
Claro (Chile) 160
Claro (Colombia) 161
Claro (Dominican Republic) 162
Claro (Ecuador) 163
Claro (El Salvador) 164
Claro (Guatemala) 165
Claro (Honduras) 166
Claro (Nicaragua) 167
Claro (Peru) 168
COSMOTE (Greece) 169
csl (Hong Kong) 170
DiGi (Malaysia) 171
Digi.Mobil (Romania) 172
Digicel (Haiti) 173
Digicel (Jamaica) 174
Digitel GSM (Venezuela) 175
Djezzy (Algeria) 176
DNA (Finland) 177
DTAC (Thailand) 178
du (UAE) 179
EE (UK) 180
Elisa (Finland) 181
Entel (Bolivia) 182
Entel (Chile) 183
Entel (Peru) 184
E-Plus (Germany) 185
Etisalat (Egypt) 186
Etisalat (Nigeria) 187
Etisalat (UAE) 188
Expresso (Senegal) 189
Far EasTone (Taiwan) 190
FITEL (Taiwan) 191
Free (France) 192
Geocell (Georgia) 193
Glo (Ghana) 194
Glo (Nigeria) 195
Globe Telecom (Philippines) 196
Gmobile (Vietnam) 197
IAM (Morocco) 198
Idea Cellular (India) 199
Indosat (Indonesia) 200
inwi (Morocco) 201
Kcell (Kazakhstan) 202
Kölbi (Costa Rica) 203
KPN (Netherlands) 204
KT (South Korea) 205
Kyivstar (Ukraine) 206
LG U+ (South Korea) 207
life:) (Ukraine) 208
LIME (Jamaica) 209
LMT (Latvia) 210
Loop Mobile (India) 211
Iusacell (Mexico) 212
m:tel (Bosnia Herzegovina) 213
M1 (Singapore) 214
MagtiCom (Georgia) 215
Magyar Telekom (Hungary) 216
Maxis (Malaysia) 217
Meditel (Morocco) 218
MegaFon (Russia) 219
MEO (Portugal) 220
Meteor (Ireland) 221
MobiFone (Vietnam) 222
Mobilis (Algeria) 223
Mobily (Saudi Arabia) 224
Mobinil (Egypt) 225
Mobistar (Belgium) 226
Movicel (Angola) 227
Movilnet (Venezuela) 228
Movistar (Argentina) 229
Movistar (Chile) 230
Movistar (Colombia) 231
Movistar (Ecuador) 232
Movistar (Guatemala) 233
Movistar (Mexico) 234
Movistar (Nicaragua) 235
Movistar (Peru) 236
Movistar (Spain) 237
Movistar (Uruguay) 238
Movistar (Venezuela) 239
MPT (Myanmar) 240
mt:s (Serbia) 241
M-Tel (Bulgaria) 242
MTN (Cameroon) 243
MTN (Ghana) 244
MTN (Nigeria) 245
MTN (South Africa) 246
MTN (Sudan) 247
MTN (Uganda) 248
MTN (Yemen) 249
MTNL (India) 250
MTS (India) 251
MTS (Russia) 252
MTS (Ukraine) 253
Ncell (Nepal) 254
Nepal Telecom (Nepal) 255
NetCom (Norway) 256
NEXTEL (Argentina) 257
NEXTEL (Brazil) 258
NEXTEL (Mexico) 259
NOS (Portugal) 260
NTT DOCOMO (Japan) 261
O2 (Czech Republic) 262
O2 (Germany) 263
O2 (Ireland) 264
O2 (Slovakia) 265
O2 (UK) 266
Oi (Brazil) 267
Oman Mobile (Oman) 268
Omnitel (Lithuania) 269
Ooredoo (Algeria) 270
Ooredoo (Kuwait) 271
Ooredoo (Oman) 272
Ooredoo (Qatar) 273
Ooredoo (Tunisia) 274
Optus Mobile (Australia) 275
Orange (Cameroon) 276
Orange (Dominican Republic) 277
Orange (France) 278
Orange (Israel) 279
Orange (Kenya) 280
Orange (Poland) 281
Orange (Romania) 282
Orange (Senegal) 283
Orange (Slovakia) 284
Orange (Spain) 285
Orange (Switzerland) 286
Orange (Tunisia) 287
Pelephone (Israel) 288
Personal (Argentina) 289
Personal (Paraguay) 290
Play (Poland) 291
Plus (Poland) 292
Proximus (Belgium) 293
Reliance Communications (India) 294
Rogers Wireless (Canada) 295
Sabafon (Yemen) 296
Safaricom (Kenya) 297
SFR (France) 298
Si.mobil (Slovenia) 299
Singtel Mobile (Singapore) 300
SK Telecom (South Korea) 301
Smart Communications (Philippines) 302
Smartfren (Indonesia) 303
SmarTone (Hong Kong) 304
SoftBank Mobile (Japan) 305
Sonera (Finland) 306
Spark (New Zealand) 307
Sprint Nextel (US) 308
StarHub Mobile (Singapore) 309
STC (Saudi Arabia) 310
Sunrise (Switzerland) 311
Swisscom (Switzerland) 312
Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) 313
Tata DOCOMO (India) 314
TDC (Denmark) 315
Telcel (Mexico) 316
Tele2 (Latvia) 317
Tele2 (Lithuania) 318
Tele2 (Norway) 319
Tele2 (Russia) 320
Tele2 (Sweden) 321
Telekom (Germany) 322
Telekom (Romania) 323
Telekom (Slovakia) 324
Telekom Slovenije (Slovenia) 325
Telenor (Bulgaria) 326
Telenor (Denmark) 327
Telenor (Hungary) 328
Telenor (Norway) 329
Telenor (Serbia) 330
Telenor (Sweden) 331
Telia (Denmark) 332
Telia (Sweden) 333
Telkom (South Africa) 334
Telkomsel (Indonesia) 335
Telstra (Australia) 336
Telus Mobility (Canada) 337
T-Hrvatski Telekom (Croatia) 338
Tigo (Bolivia) 339
Tigo (Colombia) 340
Tigo (El Salvador) 341
Tigo (Ghana) 342
Tigo (Guatemala) 343
Tigo (Honduras) 344
Tigo (Paraguay) 345
Tigo (Senegal) 346
Tigo (Tanzania) 347
TIM (Brazil) 348
TIM (Italy) 349
T-Mobile (Austria) 350
T-Mobile (Czech Republic) 351
T-Mobile (Netherlands) 352
T-Mobile (Poland) 353
T-Mobile (US) 354
True Move (Thailand) 355
Tunisie Telecom (Tunisia) 356
Turkcell (Turkey) 357
U.S. Cellular (US) 358
Unefon (Mexico) 359
Uninor (India) 360
Unitel (Angola) 361
Verizon Wireless (US) 362
VIBO (Taiwan) 363
Videocon (India) 364
Vietnamobile (Vietnam) 365
Viettel Mobile (Vietnam) 366
Vinaphone (Vietnam) 367
VIP (Croatia) 368
VIP (Serbia) 369
Visafone (Nigeria) 370
VIVA (Kuwait) 371
Vivacom (Bulgaria) 372
Vivo (Brazil) 373
Vodacom (South Africa) 374
Vodacom (Tanzania) 375
Vodafone (Australia) 376
Vodafone (Czech Republic) 377
Vodafone (Egypt) 378
Vodafone (Germany) 379
Vodafone (Ghana) 380
Vodafone (Greece) 381
Vodafone (Hungary) 382
Vodafone (India) 383
Vodafone (Ireland) 384
Vodafone (Italy) 385
Vodafone (Netherlands) 386
Vodafone (New Zealand) 387
Vodafone (Portugal) 388
Vodafone (Qatar) 389
Vodafone (Romania) 390
Vodafone (Spain) 391
Vodafone (Turkey) 392
Vodafone (UK) 393
WIND (Canada) 394
Wind (Italy) 395
WIND Hellas (Greece) 396
XL Axiata (Indonesia) 397
Y!Mobile (Japan) 398
Yoigo (Spain) 399
yuMobile (Kenya) 400
Zain (Kuwait) 401
Zain (Saudi Arabia) 402
Zain (Sudan) 403
Zantel (Tanzania) 404

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