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Week 03, 2009

As the 4 billion mobile subscribers milestone has been passed at the end of 2008, the whole mobile communication industry will be after the next billion. This will prompt operators to offer cheaper access to basic services on their networks, thus reducing the average ARPU. This will undoubtedly translate into an increased price pressure on operators’ suppliers, especially handset vendors, and SIM card manufacturers. At the other end of the spectrum, smart phones marketshare is bound to increase thanks to an increasingly diverse offer, and more competition pressure.

The ongoing crisis will impact consumer spending patterns, thus the use of debit and credit cards. Banks, after the 2008 – 2009 restructuring are in an increasingly competitive world. Banks will be willing to use their payment card offer as a means to differentiate from each other. For this reason, and also to reduce the impact of fraud, migration to smart cards will be under a positive influence. Contactless card adoption will increase thanks to the support of major payment organizations. On the other hand, SEPA for cards adoption seems to slow down, as not all European players agree on the terms. Delaying SEPA adoption may weaken European positions and open an avenue to Visa and MasterCard to strengthen their duopoly in Europe.

Government ID
62 countries, out of more than 190 ICAO members have adopted ePassports. This means there is still many ePassport projects to launch and conduct for technology suppliers. Also, more ID card, and health card projects are under way. In 2009, many countries are now experiencing the second version of electronic documents: Germany is in the process of developing the second version of its healthcare card, and Slovenia has already done so. The government ID market is far from being saturated.

Enterprise Security
In a crisis situation, companies are looking for a better integration between their various entities. Thus they face a need for improved security devices, and systems integration. Also, due to the crisis, banks are facing an increased consumer demand for security when conducting on-line transactions.

Many transportation projects are under way, and more are bound to be launched in 2009. Transport operators are looking for means to increase their profitability (or at least reduce their losses). Some of them are investigating means to get rid of all ticketing concerns by subcontracting payment to financial institutions altogether, and becoming just another merchant.

2009 will see more NFC pilots, in the wake of what has been experienced in 2008. And we can bet all of these pilots will lead to a very high satisfaction level from users. But, we can’t expect large-scale rollouts this year, as a larger range of NFC handsets will not be available before late in the year. The risk of repeating pilots, without being able to launch a rollout is to make NFC appear as another hype technology, and to turn satisfied pilot users into frustrated consumers.

2009 is to be an exciting year. Smart Insights will remain by your side to provide you with news, intelligence and analysis.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights