04 December 2016
visit http://www.wolterskluwerfs.com

EC green lights UK telcos' mobile wallet plans

05 September 2012  |  8999 views  |  3 EU building, Brussels

The European Commission has given UK wireless operators Vodafone, O2, and Everything Everywhere the green light for Project Oscar, their mobile payments joint venture.

Oscar - first announced last June - aims to create a single mobile wallet platform hosting cards, coupons and transactional information on the SIM card. Banks, card schemes, retailers, transit companies and other telcos would be able to rent space on the SIM under a subscription model.

The EC opened an in-depth inquiry into the JV in April after its initial investigation raised concerns that the plan could stifle competition, blocking future rivals. Among the most vocal critics of the plan had been smaller telco Three, which has been excluded from the early stages of the project.

However, the Commission says it has now "unconditionally approved" Oscar on the basis of the EU merger regulation, concluding that it "will not likely lead to a significant impediment to effective competition in the EEA".

The investigation revealed that a number of alternatives already exist and much more are likely to emerge - some operating on the SIM, and others in the cloud. In its ruling, the EC states: "It is unlikely that the creation of the joint venture will allow the parent mobile network operators to block these alternative routes to market using technical or commercial means."

Joaquín Almunia, Commission VP in charge of competition policy, says: "Mobile commerce is a nascent sector that may radically change the consumer buying experience in the next few years...The Commission is keen on promoting innovation in this area and ensuring that the markets remain open so that a number of competing solutions can emerge without undue obstacles, to the benefit of consumers."

Comments: (3)

Peter Bove
Peter Bove - Aviso - London | 05 September, 2012, 12:26

Not sure I'm wildy enthusiastic about having my wallet and transactional information stored on the SIM, even if the SIM security is enhanced, it is still an unneccessary risk.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 07 September, 2012, 13:52

Not sure why the MNO consortium has chosen to rent space on the SIM card and, as Google Wallet found out to its dismay, risk limited adoption by consumers. On the other hand, even when GW moved to the cloud recently to enable consumers to add any card of their choice as the funding mechanism, the need to store one card on the phone hasn't gone away. As we've seen here, this card can't be a credit card earning much higher interchange fees for Google. Makes me wonder if NFC - as against QR code - based mobile wallets face certain fundamental technology / business model constraints viz. (a) Force the payment service provider to store at least one card inside the phone, and (b) Not permit consumers to add their preferred cards to the phone in the non-cloud implementation.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 10 September, 2012, 13:49

Isn't 'green light' a bit strong? This is not a formal 'negative clearance' as could be obtained in the 1990s. All it means is that the EC decided not to further pursue any lines of enquiry connected with the proposition that has been put on the table. They are at liberty to take it up again if the implemented version is different from the blueprint version. As well, anyone can file suit in a Member State court-of-law if they think Project Oscar is behaving in an anti-competitive manner in future.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Comment on this story (membership required)

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board: sign up now

Related stories

Singapore telcos launch NFC mobile wallets

Singapore telcos launch NFC mobile wallets

24 August 2012  |  8591 views  |  0 comments
Discover backs Google Wallet

Discover backs Google Wallet

17 August 2012  |  8185 views  |  2 comments
US retailers join forces for m-commerce system

US retailers join forces for m-commerce system

15 August 2012  |  11422 views  |  1 comments
Dutch banks and telcos disband mobile wallet joint venture

Dutch banks and telcos disband mobile wallet joint venture

19 July 2012  |  10628 views  |  2 comments
Sweden's big four wireless operators launch mobile wallet

Sweden's big four wireless operators launch mobile wallet

26 June 2012  |  8381 views  |  0 comments | 1 linkedin
Visa Europe preps V.me digital wallet for autumn launch

Visa Europe preps V.me digital wallet for autumn launch

30 April 2012  |  10743 views  |  0 comments
EC opens 'in-depth investigation' into UK telcos' mobile wallet plans

EC opens 'in-depth investigation' into UK telcos' mobile wallet plans

13 April 2012  |  8765 views  |  0 comments
Portugal Telecom trials mobile wallet

Portugal Telecom trials mobile wallet

22 March 2012  |  5887 views  |  0 comments
UK telcos submit mobile wallet proposals to EU competition authorities

UK telcos submit mobile wallet proposals to EU competition authorities

08 March 2012  |  10582 views  |  0 comments
French telcos form e-payment JV

French telcos form e-payment JV

03 February 2011  |  11005 views  |  0 comments

Related company news

 

Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)
Visit contisgroup.comFind out moreVisit capgemini.com

Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
Royal Mint to issue digital goldRoyal Mint to issue digital gold
6359 views comments | 22 tweets | 21 linkedin
ING pulls plug on P2P payments app TwypING pulls plug on P2P payments app Twyp
5535 views comments | 16 tweets | 15 linkedin
UK challenger bank Masthaven opens for businessUK challenger bank Masthaven opens for bus...
5531 views comments | 15 tweets | 13 linkedin
R3 and Calypso to develop blockchain trade confirmation systemR3 and Calypso to develop blockchain trade...
5479 views comments | 13 tweets | 12 linkedin
EBA told that tougher authentication will have a "chilling" effect on single marketEBA told that tougher authentication will...
5463 views comments | 18 tweets | 20 linkedin

Featured job

to Six-Figure Base, Commission, Benefits
London, UK

Find your next job