The worldwide mobile payment transaction value is going to exceed the $171.5-billion mark in 2012, recording a huge 61.9 percent increase from $105.9 billion in 2011, according a Gartner report.

The report has stated that the number of people using the mobile payment services will reach 212.2 million in 2012, up from 160.5 million in 2011. For the next two years, the mobile payments market will experience fragmented services and solutions. In addition, technology providers will have to cater their solutions to the local market that will be using different access technologies, business models and partners, under different regulatory conditions.

We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42 percent annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting a market worth $617 billion with 448 million users by 2016, says Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

Shen says though there will be a few global players who have the scale and resources to serve large customers and the mass market whose requirements can be readily satisfied by standard solutions, there will always be segments that cannot be sufficiently served by the global players.

The demand of these segments can only be satisfied by specialized or local players who can better understand the segment and have specific solutions to meet the unique challenges, says Shen.

While SMS remains the dominant access technology in developing markets because of its ubiquity and the constraints of mobile devices, Web/WAP is the preferred access technology in North America and Western Europe where mobile Internet is commonly available and activated on user devices.

According to Gartner's estimates, Web/WAP access to account for about 88 percent of total transactions in North America and about 80 percent in Western Europe by 2016.

However, Near Field Communication (NFC) transactions will remain relatively low through 2015, although growth will start to pick up from 2016.

NFC payment involves a change in user behavior and requires collaboration among stakeholders that includes banks, mobile carriers, card networks and merchants, says Shen. It takes time for both to happen, so we don't expect NFC payments to come into the mass market before 2015. In the meantime, ticketing, rather than retail payment, will drive NFC transactions.

According to Gartner, merchandise purchases, including e-commerce purchases (online, as well as in-store) will drive transactions in North America and Western Europe. Major e-tailers such as Amazon and eBay have developed strong mobile storefronts and have seen significant growth from the mobile channel. In case of in-store purchases, Starbucks' Card Mobile app is now being rolled out nationwide in the US following a successful pilot program.

When it comes to developing markets, money transfer and airtime top-ups will account for most transaction volume. Because of the demand for secure and efficient ways of storing and transferring money, money transfer will account for the largest portion of the transaction value.