Isis outlines US contactless m-payments pilot; Sprint preps rival service

Isis outlines US contactless m-payments pilot; Sprint preps rival service

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile say their mobile commerce joint venture will begin piloting its contactless payments technology in Salt Lake City in early 2012. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel, which is not part of the JV, hopes to beat its rival telcos to the punch by rolling out a similar service by the end of the year.

Isis says its system will roll out next year, meaning people with enabled phones can make point-of-sale purchases at retailers across the Salt Lake City area by tapping their handsets against terminals.

The group has also inked a deal with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to let people pay for journeys on public transport in the area with their phones. UTA already lets residents pay with contactless cards.

Michael Abbott, CEO, Isis, says: "By working with the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake Chamber and Salt Lake City-area merchants, Isis is bringing the mobile commerce vision to reality. Salt Lake City consumers will experience a new way to shop, pay and save."

Meanwhile, the JV is also ending an exclusive deal with Discover and opening up the system "to all merchants, banks, payment networks and mobile carriers".

Separately, Sprint Nextel, the major telco that is not part of the Isis JV, is working with payment networks and handset makers on an NFC payments service that could be ready before the end of the year.

Kevin McGinnis, VP, product platforms, Sprint, told Bloomberg that the firm had originally been part of the Isis project but decided to strike out on its own. Unlike Isis, it does not plan to take a percentage of each transaction, and could instead share revenue from sales of coupons sent to its handsets.

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