Mobile Operators as Banks or Vice-Versa? and: Regulators’ Interest in the Best Efficiency of Payments

  • Louis François Pau -CBS -Erasmus University -ETSI
Keywords: e-Business, Mobile payments, Mobile operators, Deposit banks, Payment clearinghouses, Banking regulations, Telecommunications regulations


This paper addresses the strategic challenges of deposit banks, and payment clearinghouses, posed by the growing role of mobile operators as collectors and payment agents for flows of cash for themselves and between third parties. Through analysis and data from selected operators, it is shown that mobile operators as money flow handlers achieve levels of efficiency, profitability, and risk control comparable to deposit banks. Furthermore, the payment infrastructures deployed by both are found to be quite similar, and are analyzed in relation to financial profitability, strategic challenges and opportunities This paves the way to either mobile operators taking a bigger role, or for banks to tie up such operators to them even more tightly, or for alliances/mergers to take place, all these options being subject to regulatory evolution which is analyzed as well. The consequences of the payment efficiency and architectures are mapped out in operational and regulatory terms.

Author Biography

Louis François Pau, -CBS -Erasmus University -ETSI

-Adjunct Professor, CBS

-Professor, Erasmus University

-SEnior expert, ETSI


(1) Lewis A. 2003. Cashing in on communication. European Communications, 56-58,

(2) Anonymous. 2003. Exploring a new gold mine for banks. Asian Banker Journal. 24(3): 17

(3) Tewari H.,O’Mahony D.2003. Real time payments for Mobile IP. IEEE Communications Magazine, 41(3): 126-136

(4) Pau L-F. 2004. Network-based business process management:

embedding business logic in communications networks. In Smart business networks”, Vervest P.H.M., Heck E., Price K., Pau, L-F (eds). Springer: Berlin, Germany; 139-163

(5) Sahota D. 2014. O2 wallet folds, Mobile Communications International, January, 08-09

(6) Herzberg A. 2003. Payments and banking with mobile personal devices. Communications of the ACM, 46 (5): 53-58

(7) Mc Kinsey.2004. Prepaid services. McKinsey Quarterly, 5 April, [25 October 2011]

(8) Warris F.S., Maqsoom F.M.,Pau, L-F. 2006. Mobile Payments in the Netherlands: Adoption Bottlenecks and Opportunities, or… Throw out Your Wallets. Research report, ERIM, Rotterdam school of management, Rotterdam, Netherlands.; and Report by EPCI, Brussels. 95 p.

(9) Mbiti I.,Weil D.N. 2011. Mobile banking: the impact of M-Pesa in Kenya. Working paper 17129, National Bureau of economic research, Cambridge, MA.

(10) Centeno C. 2003. Adoption of e-services: I-banking in the candidate countries. Report no 77, IPTS, Sevilla, 14-23

(11) PYMENTS.COM.2014. A look at how payments got to where it is today.

How to Cite
Pau, L. F. (2015). Mobile Operators as Banks or Vice-Versa? and: Regulators’ Interest in the Best Efficiency of Payments. Transactions on Networks and Communications, 3(5), 42.