ITU-T Study Group 3 to consider the costing and pricing of mobile money services

The ITU-T Study Group 3 Regional Group for Africa (SG3RG-AFR) has proposed that its parent group analyze regulatory frameworks to guide the costing and pricing of digital financial services (DFS). The knowledge drawn from Africa’s experience with DFS is expected to assist the work of the ITU-T Focus Group on Digital Financial Services, an open platform to propel the use of these services to increase financial inclusion.

The African region’s proposal will be considered by the upcoming meeting of ITU-T Study Group 3 (Economic and policy issues) at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 16-20 March.

The proposal is motivated by concerns around competition practices and consumer protection, caused in part by perceived deficiencies in regulatory guidance on fair access to communications infrastructure.

Network operators providing mobile financial services control an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel to which competitors need access to offer similar services. USSD is the most effective protocol to offer DFS in a ‘2G’ GSM environment, making access to USSD channels an important competition concern in the DFS markets of many developing countries.

The lack of regulatory guidance is said to open the door to abuses of market dominance, seen by some as the culprit for the prohibitively high prices of DFS transactions found in certain countries.

In an effort to address these concerns, SG3RG-AFR has proposed that ITU-T Study Group 3 establish a new work stream (‘Rapporteur Group’) to analyze means of promoting fair access to communications infrastructure so as to encourage an equitable development of digital finance markets.

The proposed Rapporteur Group would focus on the enabling factors of healthy market competition, an effort that would include the development of a transaction cost model to enhance the affordability of DFS.

Visit the homepage of ITU-T Study Group 3 for more information on ITU-T standardization on tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues.

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