Probably the most interesting comments of the day so far came from Ravi Shankar, EVP and Country Head-Cash Management & Direct Banking for Yes Bank. He explained why most banks are excited about mobile banking – the opportunity lies in the fact that today there are more mobile handsets than bank accounts in India today. He pointed out some Industry-wide issues:

— The first challenge I that we face, even before the first 100000 transactions are completed is – there is a hue and cry about – the bank, the credit card, the telecom operator, the service provider…who owns the customer? There is no real collaboration about the industry, and we will face interoperability issues.
Who owns the device? We’re excited because we don’t have to pay for network, availablitly, redundancy, or the device in the hands of the customer. Who owns it?
— Who owns the telecom network for banking transactions…who should govern these transactions – the TRAI or the RBI? There are forums for discussion, but do we have solutions?
— Telecom customers are changing companies, banking customers are changing banks. How are these governed?
— How are you going to deal with a situation where customers are moving from paying using the talk time, to pay with the your wallet/bank? No operators are here.

I as a comsumer want to buy Rs. 500 of groceries which is 5 km from my house. I want to buy a Rs. 5000 book off the web. The way consumer look to use money, and the applications they use are differently from the way we use them. Today people are sending money through physical couriers. How easy would it be is more important than the technology. You need to differentiate the technology based on the end user.

This business is a little tricky. Unless these issues are sorted out, Mobile commerce will not take off. In his final comments, he also mentioned the opportunity for a bank to become an MVNO – just like NTT DoCoMo is processing a lot of money in Japan. Banks can issue sim cards, set up a call center, handle calls…why not?”

@IAMAI MVAS Conference – Our Complete Coverage
Too Much Mobile Marketing Hype; “Lets not undercut each other on pricing”
Why MMS Failed; Paid Vs Free Push SMS Services
“What’s in a Game? It’s All In The Name”; Only 2-3 Players In Mobile Gaming In India?
“Opportunity for a bank to become an MVNO” – Ravi Shankar of Yes Bank
Consumer Segments & Content; Ad-Funding vs Ad-Subsidized