Soweto - an African m-commerce success story

Tuesday 13 April 2004 00:37 CET | News

The emergence of the cellphone as an m-commerce channel has created the ability for MasterCard technology to address the needs of the emerging market in Southern Africa. In what is considered just the beginning, MasterCard Southern Africa and Simpluss jointly developed m-commerce solution has generated over R1.6 billion turnover in 2003.The mobile commerce solution, recently re-branded as rePower, is developed and delivered by MasterCard Southern Africa in partnership with Simplus. rePower allows consumers, through service providers and vendors, to conduct secure payment transactions using their cellphones. The solution has been particularly functional for the millions of "unbanked" people in South Africa, where it is a reality that more South Africans own cellphones than have bank accounts. The platform was designed to integrate with various mobile network operators and in partnership with MasterCards member financial organisations in South Africa. This offering allows for direct consumer transactions to take place via a secure and immediate payment process. An illustration of the significant achievement of rePower in South Africa is that local South African media are now referring to Soweto as the "m-commerce capital of Africa". Soweto is a township to the southwest of Johannesburg with a teledensity of less than 5 percent, yet with an extremely high number of cellphone users. The project has proved to be a success particulary in townships, with the platform being used by GSM payphone owners - people who set up on street corners and sell units to others wanting to make phone calls. Unbanked GSM payphone owners make their payment to the mobile phone operators through prepaid credit cards issued by MasterCard. This demonstrated that there is an m-commerce market even in areas that have been previously considered technogically unviable in South Africa. rePower has enabled South African townships to become the unlikely centre of m-commerce throughout the Africa continent. br /> MasterCard Southern Africa identified the local pre-paid top up cellular market as being the first step in introducing mobile payments, given its size and growth potential. The South African cellular market is currently worth R23 billion and is forecasted to grow to around R45 billion by the end of 2004.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Mobile Payments
Countries: World
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