Mobile operators team up for payments venture


Three of the UK's leading mobile phone operators have teamed up to form a joint mobile marketing and payments venture. Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK and Vodafone UK will share their expertise and technology to develop and deliver innovative mobile services.


Thanks to the initiative, experts say that it should be much easier for advertisers, marketing partners, retailers and banks to create products and services that enable people to shop via their mobile phone or smartphone.

Joint venture is first of its kind
The new joint venture between Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK and Vodafone UK is expected to launch before the end of the year, subject to competition clearance, and will be the first of its kind in the UK. Together, the mobile giants will deliver a single technology that will facilitate the adoption of mobile payments. Thanks to their combined efforts, consumers should soon be able to stop carrying a traditional wallet and enjoy the benefits of a secure SIM-based 'mobile wallet' instead.

People will be able to pay for goods, services and travel via their mobile, instead of carrying around separate credit cards, debit cards and transport tickets. For instance, it will be possible to pay with a single touch of their phone against a contactless reader, regardless of which NFC-enabled mobile device or network they are using. Users will also be able to go online shopping via their mobile phone.

Move could reinforce importance of mobiles
According to Tom Alexander, chief executive officer of Everything Everywhere, the new joint venture should "further reinforce mobile as the essential 21st century device at the heart of people's daily lives." Mr Alexander also said that the new business will be beneficial for both consumers and industry alike.

"The benefits will be felt across the whole industry, allowing people to manage their money and make payments using their handsets, helping advertisers reach their customers on the move, and helping banks provide their clients with an easy and convenient way of making payments," he explained in a press release. "And for partners operating in these industries, having a one-stop shop to deal with will make things quicker, easier and more efficient."

Guy Laurence, chief executive officer of Vodafone UK, pointed out that people currently have to carry their mobile phone, wallet and keys when they leave home. "In the near future, people will now start leaving their wallet at home, and in the mid term their keys may also be integrated into their mobile as NFC allows the mobile to act as a digital access card," he noted in the release.

See related: Starbucks to support contactless card payments; Survey: Brits reluctant to adopt contactless credit cards

Published: 23 June 2011