Digital payments service PayPal has announced the formation of new mobile wallet partnerships with telephone giants Vodafone and America Movil as it targets future growth following its spin-off by eBay.
The tie-ups are expected to be formally announced later today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by PayPal’s chief executive officer Dan Schulman, attracted by Vodafone’s 454m customer base and 286m subscribers at America Movil.
Such tie-ups will enable PayPal to expand beyond its current click and pay model for online purchases to become a more complete financial platform offering additional services such as international money transfers and purchasing items in stores by scanning their smartphones
Forrester mobile analyst Thomas Husson commented: "PayPal's agreements show that telecom operators can become strategic partners to distribute financial services -- particularly to connect to the unbanked in emerging countries, as demonstrated by the America Movil and M-Pesa partnerships.
"It’s yet another sign that you cannot win the wallet war alone. Consumers trust PayPal as a digital wallet provider in many countries across the globe - adding more choice and a best in-class app experience for consumers will help them - but to fully realize its ambition to become the OS of digital commerce, PayPal now must also convince merchants simultaneously."
PayPal counted 179m active users at the end of last year, predominantly centred on the US and Europe.
Mobile commerce is tipped to be one of the key trends from this year’s MWC, with Japanese mobile operator Docomo outlining plans to go global with its own offering ahead of the event as it looks to counter similar efforts from Apple, Google, Facebook and the banks.