UK mobile operators form payments joint venture
16 June 2011 | 9836 views | 5
The UK's leading mobile operators are to establish a stand-alone joint venture with the aim of encouraging mass-market adoption of mobile marketing and payment services.
The companies - Everything Everywhere, Telefonica and Vodafone - say the JV will deliver the technology required for the speedy adoption of mobile wallet and payments.
"This will enable consumers to transfer their entire physical wallet into a new secure, SIM-based wallet regardless of which NFC enabled mobile device, or mobile network they are using," they state.
The new business will also look to provide a single contact point for advertisers, media agencies and retailers looking to book advertising space and create campaigns as well as provide offers, coupons and loyalty cards which can be stored on the phone and redeemed in shops.
The venture is subject to competition clearance and is aiming to launch before the end of the year.
Finextra verdict: We've been here before, with the ill-starred SimPay venture that collapsed in 2005 following the withdrawal of founder member T-Mobile. This time the stakes are higher, with smartphone sales soaring and NFC-enabled devices hitting the market. The provision of a stable, one-size-fits-all operating environment is a critical issue to mass-market acceptance, which this JV will aim to address. But the real test will come from other stakeholders. Banks, card schemes, merchants, and device manufacturers also need to be brought onboard. The wireless operators alone cannot make this work. Just ask the members of the floundering Isis consortium in the US.