The Power of the Cell Phone
The cell phone is increasingly being considered a remote control to the digital world. Banks, marketing agencies, those in the entertainment industry, and a host of other businesses are focused on creating useful m-commerce applications that will increase revenues. The ability to carry out transactions from any location any time using a cell phone is revolutionizing the manner in which we conduct our day-to-day activities. Here are four examples of how m-commerce is affecting societies worldwide. First National Bank (FNB) of South Africa offers banking services via cell phone. Bank members can purchase prepaid cell phone airtime, view purchase records and account balances, transfer funds, and make payments using their cell phone menu system. The mobile banking platform is built on SMS (Short Messaging Service) and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) combined with custom designed open-source software. The service supported 1.8 million transactions valued at $33 million in its first year. "We are proud to say that FNB Cell phone Banking is now profitable on a month-to-month basis and is outperforming all initial expectations," said Len Pienaar, CEO of FNB Mobile and Transact Solutions. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the globe in Japan, Aeon Co, which operates shopping malls, supermarkets, and general merchandise retailers, is installing terminals at cash registers that will allow customers to make payments using a cell phone. Japan`s cell phone giant DoCoMo is introducing cell phones equipped with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Using this technology, DoCoMo customers can make credit card payments by bringing a compatible cell phone handset close to a terminal installed in Aeon Group shops. Aeon will support this new method of payment in 1,350 of its convenience stores across Japan by the end of 2006. In the United States, online payment specialist PayPal, a unit of internet auction giant eBay, has...
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