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According to a report from the United Nations, the number of mobile phone subscriptions throughout the world has quadrupled in the last seven years, from 1 billion in 2002 to 4.1 billion by December 2008. That means that about 60% of the world’s population has signed up for a phone and had to endure the laborious task of listening to a telcom worker up-sell unnecessary features and extra plans. Hey it’s One World, right? We all get to feel the pain.In the report, the U.N. notes that the majority of this growth is directly attributed to people in developing countries, who use phones as a more of a survival/functional tool. One of the big mobile applications during this time has been the use of money transfers services through phones, for people who don’t have bank accounts. For example, Nigerian and Kenyan companies recently announced they’d be expanding these services over the next year. Another interesting note to take from the report is that the huge growth in mobile phone use shows that higher-speed web access for mobiles is growing at a faster rate than regular high-speed access for anything else, like businesses or homes. What this means is that the device most people will likely use and rely on in the future will be the cell phone, above all else.
M-PESA is a mobile money solution which has been successful in other African markets, as well as in Afghanistan; enabling customers to transfer money from person to person using a cellphone.Nedbank has engaged with the banking regulator, ensuring that the initiative will meet all requirements set out by the South African Reserve Bank.Shameel Joosub, Managing Director, Vodacom South Africa, said: “Nedbank is the ideal financial services partner for this venture. With their proven track record of providing financial services to those who are traditionally unable to afford it and their innovative approach to banking, we know they will bring a new dimension to the project. Both Nedbank and Vodacom are confident that M-PESA is going to change the lives of ‘unbanked’ South Africans and we are looking forward to the imminent launch of the product.”