Monday, September 24, 2018
Digital Markets, Mobile Payments Systems and Development – Competition Policy Implications in Developing Countries in Light of the EU Experience
Jörg Hoffmann, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Mor Bakhoum, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, and Francisco Beneke, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition address Digital Markets, Mobile Payments Systems and Development – Competition Policy Implications in Developing Countries in Light of the EU Experience.
ABSTRACT: The digitization of economic activity has important socio-economic development implications and at the same time creates challenges for antitrust analysis. These implications and challenges have been met differently in jurisdictions around the world. In this paper we analyze the different experiences in the EU and developing countries, focusing on mobile payments. We find that this market exhibits special characteristics that need to be taken into account in the analysis of competition conditions. First, it is enabled by mobile telecommunications infrastructure and is offered by network operators, which causes competition in both markets to be closely linked. Second, there are factors, such as the lack of interoperability and geographical reach, that make network effects in this industry different from those present in other platforms. Third, since mobile payments in developing countries serve a niche—the population underserved by mainstream banking—the definition of the relevant market is not straightforward. We propose the criteria to be applied when making such definition. Finally, since mobile payments have associated financial services, there is an interaction between competition and financial stability that needs to be considered.