Businessman Denis O'Brien says mobile-phone firms will compete "in the medium-term" with banks in taking deposits from customers.
Mobile-phone companies will "absolutely" compete with banks as payments processors, the entrepreneur said in an interview with Bloomberg in Davos.
He cites Kenya's Safaricom as an example of a telecoms company moving into the space, and said his own global telecoms group Digicel has invested in a US company that has the technology to handle "diaspora payments" to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. "All the central banks are obviously working with their own banks to stop this technology and this way of doing things," he said.
Commenting on Digicel, Mr O'Brien said that if the company sold shares on the public markets he doubts whether analysts could really understand the far-flung business. "Could the market get their head around us investing maybe $100m this year in Papua New Guinea or maybe another $120m in Haiti? I'm not sure, because you've got all these analysts who've never been to these countries and they make the view that they don't like them."