Obopay India sits at a crossroads. Someone wrote that if mobile money players didn’t face the shackles of government banking regulations, the mobile money industry in India could generate $250 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS monthly.
With a population of 1.3 billion people, 64% of whom are unbanked, and over 904 million mobile phones, the mobile financial services opportunity in India is glacial. Obopay India and its 15+ competitors have a goldmine. India’s population is exploding, second only to China’s.
But neither Obopay, which started in 2005,* nor its telecom and bank competitors, can easily knock down The Great Wall of India. Central banking rules restrain mobile operators and entrepreneurs in India from launching mobile exchange and other financial services without a banking affiliation.
As a technology player in the mobile money business, Obopay India enables mobile money exchange via carriers and banks. The firm doesn’t sell mobile services directly to consumers. When the company launched in the United States and India, later Africa, it went to market with financial and carrier partners. Nokia also joined forces with Obopay briefly in mid-2011 before pulling out in March 2012.
Other mobile money players are Vodaphone-India and Airtel Money. Both offer M-Pesa-like mobile money accounts. Idea Cellular and tata Docomo are mobile wallet companies.
Mobile Money Regulation Improving Worldwide
However, the situation is gradually improving. Mobile operators, banks, and mobile money companies see growing opportunities. Governments have begun to realize the benefits of financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked. Women, who represent a large segment of the needy, will see significant financial improvements.
A new GSMA study on mobile inclusion in Paraguay reveals massive opportunities for carriers and others as the government understands the benefits and simplifies the regulation of mobile money operators. Only 22% of people in Paraguay have banking affiliations, similar to Haiti and Guatemala.
Obopay India: Podcast Interview with Nitin Sharma
Nitin Sharma, Senior VP of Business Development, is my guest for this podcast. He covers Obopay India’s early entrance as a mobile money company, Union Bank, its financial partner, the need for consumer education about mobile financial services, reaching customers through radio, government payment transfers via mobile. Nitin says he’s excited about the growth in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Presently, Obopay offers African mobile payments services in Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda as well.
(Learn more about the genesis of Obopay in Africa, India, and the U.S., listen to my 2010 podcast interview with Carol Realini, the founder, and the company’s first CEO.)
Since its launch in 2005, Obopay, a global mobile payment company, has provided solutions to leading brands across industries. These include MasterCard, Nokia, Airtel, Telecel, Societe Generale, and Union Bank of India.
Obopay offers white labeled mobile payment products to mobile network operators, banks and independent financial institutions worldwide that focus on emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company has product deployment experience in emerging and developed economies in Africa, Asia, and North America.
Further Reading about Obopay India
Mobile Money: The Opportunity for India (GSMA PDF – Good Source of Info on Mobile Money – 11/13)