Four out of the five UK mobile brands are joining forces to exploit the world of NFC: contactless mobile payment. The companies behind O2, T-Mobile, Orange and Vodafone are plotting a joint venture that will also offer a mobile advertising platform. Third time lucky? (Or is it fourth?).
- On the one hand, it sounds like a jolly convenient way to pay for lunch.
- On The Other Hand, it sounds like your phone will be stuffed full of irritating spam and advertisements.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Snowmobile 0, Mountain 1...
Mikael RicknÃ¤s reports:
The goal is to launch the joint venture before the end of the year. ... If they stick to an open approach, the venture will likely be approved. ... Consumers will be able to use their mobiles to pay for goods, services and travel. ... [The JV] will deliver the technology required for the adoption of mobile wallet and payments ... regardless of which NFC-enabled mobile phone, or mobile network.
[It] will also provide a single platform for advertisers. ... Just like mobile payments, mobile advertising is a hot trend. Because of the complexity of mobile payments, this part of the joint venture will probably be realized first.
Bill Ray adds:
The idea is very similar to the Isis project being pursued by the US operators, only ... operators plan to make money selling cross-network advertising and promotions. ... A bank deciding to deploy a proximity-payment version of its services will ... take it to the joint venture for approval. ... The application should be available to customers of any mobile network operator, except Three.
Three's CEO Kevin Russell isn't very impressed. "[We] are more than a little concerned that ... we have been excluded." ... he said in a statement.
Ingrid Lunden has dÃ©jÃ vu:
Those who have been watching the UK mobile industry for a while ... might recall that these operators have tried ... to offer m-payment solutions in the past ... (M-Pay, Simpay and many other efforts ... now relegated to the dustbin). ... Now it appears that the market is forcing them to rethink this idea. Consumers are catching on ... getting increasingly equipped with the right technology to execute payments securely.
It’s clear that that mobile operators have decided that scale, and control ... is their best weapon.
Matt Brian puts it in context:
In February, O2 announced it was applying ... for a license ... [for] its own wireless payment systems without needing to partner with a bank. ... The license would allow O2 to become an independent financial services provider ... providing the functionality to make contactless payments or send money. ... Orange has already partnered with Barclaycard to offer its own service.
A joint venture would ensure they can combine resource and offer a standard that the UK can support. It’s a clever move ... long coming.
Still confused? Gareth Beavis makes it simple:
In essence ... NFC-enabled mobile phones will become widespread, and everything from tickets ... to transport can be linked into a user's phone. Credit, debit and loyalty cards will all be accessible with one beep.
The new joint venture will also likely see an explosion in location-based offers. ... Users sharing their position [will be] sent coupons and offers of nearby relevant shops.
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.
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