BARCELONA, Spain, June 23 /PRNewswire/ --

The GSMA, the body that represents the worldwide mobile communications industry, today announced at the Second Annual Mobile Money Summit, that the first three applications to the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Fund have been approved. The first three projects are diverse and explore; the potential for mobile money in a market where no deployment currently exists; the viability of deploying a proven mobile money model in a marginal community which represents a completely new customer segment and the diversification of a distribution network to further extend the reach of an existing mobile money deployment.

These projects will not only provide mobile money services to the unbanked, but they will also provide valuable insights into business viability and user behaviour for the rest of the mobile money industry, said Gavin Krugel, Director GSMA. Based on updated research findings being released at the Mobile Money Summit and conducted with the microfinance centre CGAP, there will be 1.7 billion unbanked customers with mobile phones by 2012. From the research we believe that mobile money has the potential to deliver up to US$5 billion in direct revenues for mobile operators by 2012 on the basis of being adopted by up to 364 million unbanked customers.

Given that the market for mobile money is gaining momentum and primarily targeting unbanked customers, the CGAP-GSMA Mobile Money Marketing Sizing Study has provided in depth research and analysis detailing:

1. The complex financial lives of the unbanked, including a profile of their approach to saving, sending, spending and borrowing money 2. The path that prospective customers take on the road to adoption 3. The way that customers use mobile money and what they want to see by way of sophisticated offerings

Innovative mobile money services are being pioneered and showcased at the Summit. Many of these services aim to provide access to low-cost financial services for millions of people, where traditional financial services are not within their reach or readily available. In recognition of the progress that is being made in this sector, the GSMA has announced the launch of a new MMU Award.

The first MMU Award category will be part of the Asia Mobile Awards to be presented in Hong Kong at the Mobile Asia Congress on the 18 November 2009, and will recognise the mobile money service or application that has had the most significant impact on unbanked customers in developing markets over the last year, and which supports the goals of the GSMA's MMU programme. The Asia Mobile Awards will open for entry in early July and close on Tuesday 15th September 2009. An MMU category will also included in the GSMA's Global Mobile Awards, which open for entry on 1st September and culminate at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2010.

Eligibility Criteria for the MMU Fund - The project must involve providing mobile money services to unbanked customers living on under US$2 per day - The mobile money service proposed must be innovative, market based and its development likely to be accelerated with the support of the MMU Fund - Applicants must explain why the project cannot readily obtain commercial finance or other sources of finance (including internal corporate capital allocation); - Funding must be utilised within the project timeframe of 2 years.

The Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) programme is administered by the GSMA Foundation, Inc., which is the recipient of a US$12.5 million grant from the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation. The MMU programme works with mobile operators, banks, microfinance institutions, government and development organizations to encourage the expansion of reliable, affordable mobile financial services to the unbanked. The MMU Fund exists to accelerate mobile money deployments which target base of the pyramid consumers who are unbanked.

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry.

For more information, please visit

Daniel Lowther of GSMA, +44-7747-636-687,