1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Over the last decade the world has become more digitalized and mobile. This digitalization brought about by the advancement in technology has affected all sectors of the economy which the small and medium enterprise sector is not an exception. As a result of this, business organisations world over have sought for ways of improving their business operations through improved technologies in order to serve their customers better. Consequently, the advent of Electronic commerce has assisted business organisations in achieving this desired goal. E-Commerce refers to online transactions- buying and selling of goods and/or services over electronic medium especially the internet (Yeo & Huang 2003). It consists of all commercial transactions mediated by digital technologies such as landline telephone, electronic mails, mobile-phones and internet which takes place over electronic networks.
As conceived by some schools of thought, Mobile-commerce is an extension of E-commerce to mobile phones. Therefore, M-commerce involves an emerging set of applications and services people can access from their Web enabled mobile devices (Sadeh, 2002). According to this definition, m-commerce represents a subset of all e- commerce, including both business-to-business and business to consumer. M- Commerce uses the internet for purchasing goods and services as well as sending and receiving messages using hand- held wireless devices. Some other schools of thought think it is another new channel after the internet, since Mobile phones itself provides an easier way to access the internet as it brings about flexibility and speed in its operations, thereby facilitating improvement in its operations leading to substantial cost savings as well as increased efficiency and competitiveness. Generally, m-commerce refers to any transaction with a monetary value that is conducted via a mobile telecommunications network, thus enabling Wireless web applications users with Internet enabled cell- phones undertake and carry out several kinds of transactions.
One of the fastest developments in mobile commerce has been made in Africa where the inadequate bank infrastructures have encouraged financial firms to make use of mobile phones rather than other E-commerce devices. One of the major characteristics that made M-commerce a major contender in the business world is its accessibility. It gives consumers the flexibility to access goods/services regardless of location or time, other characteristics include; convenience, ubiquity or immediacy, real time, context awareness and personalization (Boateng 2013);
Today, the mobile Internet is emerging even faster because network providers, content partners, customers, and investors are leveraging lessons from e-commerce. Cellular carriers, both nationally and globally, have made significant advances to enable next generation data or wireless Web services and mobile commerce. M- Commerce is believed to be driving fundamental changes in the way business is conducted in many industries, particularly in telecommunications, information technology, media and financial services. As such, accessibility to the mobile phone is to both the poor and the rich.
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IMPACT OF MOBILE COMMERCE SERVICES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA