LIVE FROM GSMA NFC & MOBILE MONEY SUMMIT 2012: Mobile money services haven’t made the progress they should have as operators have failed to invest the necessary resources and time to projects. That was the claim from M-Pesa pioneer and Vodafone’s managing director of Mobile Money, Michael Joseph, in this morning’s opening keynote session.

“In general, mobile money hasn’t been as successful if you measure it against what it can do and should do,” said Joseph. According to Joseph, the major issue is that operators are not used to waiting the two or three years required for mobile money projects to generate a return and have therefore not put sufficient resources into projects that would drive uptake.

“If you try to make money in six months then you are going to fail. This is a long-term project,” Joseph said.

Joseph added that a critical mass is now building for mobile money services as operators begin to understand what is needed to make them successful. “If you want to be successful in the mobile money business you need to make serious investment, you need to be passionate and you need to stay the course,” he said.

Launched in 2007, the M-Pesa money transfer and storage service now has 14.4 million active users with an average transaction size of US$30, showing the demand in developing markets for making small transactions via mobile phones.

Vodafone also announced today it will extend M-Pesa to allow users to make money transfers between 35 countries via the HomeSend international remittance hub.