Mobile phone users will spend up to $20 billion a year on wireless payments by 2005, according to a report by market analysts.
The roll out of phones and other wireless devices that enable customers to access downloadable content and applications, such as ring tones, screensavers and games will ensure strong revenue returns.
Analysts ARC Group report that the majority of the income will continue to come from airtime and SMS messages, but that web content and point of sale payments would also contribute to the projected growth.
Developments in handset design and work in overcoming interoperability issues could soon see mobile devices being used in shops to pay for goods and services.
‘These new payment trends are already happening in the Asia Pacific region,’ said Richard Jesty, chief analyst at ARC and one of the report’s authors. ‘We are seeing vending machines that are able to talk to mobile phones and provide not just canned drinks but personal city guides and entertainment information.’
In Japan mobile customers in some areas are able to use their phones as season tickets at sports grounds.