My take on this, is an emphatic NO! This is for one just not sustainable (see some of my comments below), but also potentially extremely hazardous to the underwriter of this currency (the mobile operator). If this approach really takes off and more and more currency needs to be produced to support the demand (money supply), serious problems like inflation, run-on-the-bank etc. could materialise. Mobile Operators are not in a position to deal with this. If they fully assess the potential implication on a devaluation of their airtime stock, I believe that they would put measures in place to stop it immediately (like elapse dates on pre-paid airtime). They should be apprehensive to ever start treating their airtime like money in the hands of consumers.
In addition, I think that using airtime for money in any format is totally unsustainable, because I believe that using airtime as money would be:
- Very expensive
- Totally inefficient as compared to proper e-money solutions
- Does not provide security to the client
- Would be illegal in any properly regulated environment
provide in an obvious need.