Payments technology and how telcos can profit from it is a favourite topic for study by the Telco 2.0 initiative. Fundamentally payment systems are two-sided markets - payers and payees interact not directly, but through a platform to conclude transactions. Pricing, and which side pays, is crucial to maximize participation, volume and liquidity on the platform. Interconnection strategies with other payment platforms also play a vital role, not only in increasing convenience but in determining share of the value chain.
In this article, we examine in depth two African mobile payments solutions that we consider to be the leading examples of mobile payment, M-PESA and Wizzit. These payment solutions take very different approaches - M-PESA is very much a classic Telco 2.0 style platform business, and Wizzit is designed as an extension to traditional banking. We consider lessons learnt from both for operators worldwide.