"Brandon McGee, Industry Insider, Mobile Banking Guru...He is not only the real deal, a genuine industry insider, but also knows exactly what's on the minds of financial service pros as they contemplate the various mobile options." - Jim Bruene, Publisher & Founder, Online Financial Innovations

"Going Mobile. Local executive carves niche as national expert on fast-growing banking-industry technology trend" - Scott Olson, Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ)

"Brandon McGee, the industry's unofficial ambassador for mobile banking" 

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mobile Banking and Google a Carrier?

The telecommunications industry has always appeared very complex and daunting; however, with mobile banking obviously dependent upon the technology I am working to gain a better understanding of how the competitive market may evolve in the coming years.

With that in mind, last week I read an article that suggests we may be on the cusp of a monumental shift in the industry. The article titled Hello, Ma Google was written by Kevin Maney in the October issue of Conde Nast Portfolio. I'll reiterate that it was published in October which means that it likely written in August or September - this is crucial later in the article.

I highly recommend reading the full article, but here are two quotes that summarize the general concept, "Google could be your phone company. This possibility begins with the broadcast signals that once carried hokey sitcoms (Green Acres! The Munsters!) to TV rabbit ears. Those signals are about to become useless as sets go digital and the government prepares to auction off the old analog UHF spectrum in January. The odds-on favorite to win is Google, which has conditionally offered to meet the $4.6 billion opening bid."

The article continues on to say, "The next step is phones that work on any wireless network, the way any pot works on any stove. Google is pushing to have these so-called open phones work on the UHF spectrum, which would help end the practice of binding phones to certain networks and handcuffing customers to contracts. In other words, if the new spectrum opens the door for unlocked phones, then wireless companies could be forced to change the way they manipulate consumers and handset makers."

Do you recall that I said the article was written in August and published in October? Well...now layer in Google's November 5th announcement of the Open Handset Alliance and the Android platform. The homepage for the alliance states, "Together we have developed Android™, the first complete, open, and free mobile platform. We are committed to commercially deploy handsets and services using the Android Platform in the second half of 2008."

The second half of 2008 - that's an aggressive goal! If only they could only find a way to motivate the developers...

November 12, 2007: Google Announces $10 Million Android Developer Challenge

Well, there are obviously a number of hurdles to overcome, but if Google is able to accomplish their goal this could be revolutionary (i.e. lets all agree not to use the the phrase "the tipping point" any longer). This could mean exponential growth in the adoption and usage of the mobile internet and mobile data, which in turn could lead to exponential growth in the use of all mobile applications.

So here are my questions:
* How will the carriers respond?
* What does this mean for mobile banking?
* Does this affect the browser vs. downloadable debate?
* How will this affect the relationships between banks and carriers?
* Would this change the strategic direction of mobile banking vendors?

At this point it's very premature to try and answer these questions, but I'd welcome your initial thoughts? Also, what other questions should we be trying to answer?

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