Tim Jones, a former head of retail banking at NatWest and the man behind the Mondex electronic cash system, is to head up a new mobile payment services group formed by Orange, Telefonica Movile, T-Mobile and Vodafone.
The companies say the aim of the Mobile Payments Services Association is to deliver an open, commonly branded solution for payments via mobile phones, designed to work across all operator networks. The putative solution will work across country boundaries and will seek to complement existing industry solutions, say the founding partners. Its name and branding will be announced in due course.
Tim Jones, who has been named as CEO of the Association, has spent the past two years drumming up support for his own multi-purpose low value payments solution Purseus.
He says: "The history of the mobile phone industry shows that major business volumes only came when customers had the freedom to reach across and interact with any network. Our mission is to deliver that freedom in the field of mobile payments.”
He says an open payment solution will help to take the mobile phone to a new level, where it becomes the single most essential item that people carry with them.
"Already there are over 270 million customers worldwide represented by our founding members, which presents mobile operators, merchants and the financial services industry with a huge opportunity," he adds.
In addition to the four founding members, debitel, KPN Mobile group, O2 and TMN have expressed interest in joining the Association, and other operators are being invited to participate.