Telcos v banks or telco JVs with banks?

T-Mobile can be onto a winner if it tries to woo young banking customers. So says a report 'The Digital Disruption in Banking' from Accenture that has just hit my inbox. We have been before and the advice is anything but original, but no matter, writes Douglas Blakey

T-Mobile can be onto a winner if it tries to woo young banking customers. So says a report ‘The Digital Disruption in Banking’ from Accenture that has just hit my inbox. We have been before and the advice is anything but original, but no matter, writes Douglas Blakey

According to the report, nearly one-third of those polled said they would happily bank with T Mobile US.

Yes, mobile telcos have an existing customer base, scale and an ability to quickly adopt new technology.

T-mobile has 49.1m wireless customers and so the argument goes, it has an established base for the telco to pitch its prepaid debit card.

In contrast to banks, mobile telcos tend to have pretty hit and miss customer service but that is another matter.

How often have you changed your mobile telco provider, for example?

Compare that with how often you change your main bank.

The P&L track record to date of mobile telcos targeting financial services is not exactly a stellar one – think the O2 wallet in the UK; and 02 for a telco tends to be regarded as pretty good at customer service.

Where the report is on firmer ground is the finding that more than 1-in-4 consumers would consider a branchless digital bank.

That notion is already being put to the test with Hello Bank and Fidor with new entrants such as Atom set to launch next year.

Meantime, Orange has appointed the CEO of Credit Agricole Laurent Paillassot to head up its m-banking activities.

It is the second headline grabbing m-banking announcement this quarter from Orange.

The Orange partnership with Commerzbank subsidiary mBank in Poland to roll out a mobile-based retail bank is potentially one of the most interesting news stories this year in this sector.

mBank has scarcely put a foot wrong in the digital space since its rebrand from BRE Bank.

It has, quite rightly, been recognised as the most disruptive digital innovator in CEE banking for the way it has redfined the way it operates its business.

The notion that T Mobile, or whoever, are realistic competitors to established retail banks is a difficult concept to accept; a strategic partnership such as mBank and Orange: that is one to watch with great interest.