UK mobile operators form payments joint venture

UK mobile operators form payments joint venture

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.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 June, 2011, 23:111 like 1 like


Not for the first time I note your staffers are relying on spell check when making comments. Really - the stakes are hire?

Paul Penrose
Paul Penrose - Finextra - London 17 June, 2011, 09:29Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Oops, embarassing boo-boo fixed. In mitigation, almost the entire Finextra team de-camped to Madrid for the week for EBAday, leaving yours truly to handle the rest of the world. I'm booking myself into rehab this weekend.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 17 June, 2011, 11:211 like 1 like

Many of them begin with grand plans of setting up a parallel payment network, only to realize, like ISIS did, that it's not easy to disintermediate the 50-year old big card networks. Then, they dilute their offering to mWallets. Maybe I'm missing something here, but does it really take the likes of Google and MNOs to develop mWallets? A startup like Keyring could do it long ago for loyalty cards, it can't be so difficult to make the same app support credit/debit/prepaid cards?

@Keith R: Not that he needs it, but in further mitigation of Paul P, I doubt if any spell checker would've spotted this error since both 'hire' and 'higher' are dictionary words!

Rik Coeckelbergs
Rik Coeckelbergs - The Banking Scene - Brussels 18 June, 2011, 13:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

You miss the most important stakeholder of course: the consumer! Time will tell whether he is sufficiently interested in this new JV in order to have a viable business case

John Dring
John Dring - Intel Network Services - Swindon 20 June, 2011, 18:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

How does the saying go... past performance is no guarantee of future results!  At some point the stars will align and the time will be right, but technology is not the issue here, its politics and inertia. If its simple and quick it might get the momentum needed.