Mobile operators join forces to drive retailer and bank mobile wallet technology adoption


Mobile operators join forces to drive retailer and bank mobile wallet technology adoption

Jenny Williams

Everything Everywhere, Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK are to form a joint venture to encourage more retailers and banks to adopt mobile payment technologies using near field communications.

The initiative will provide an open marketplace and start-up investment to make it easier for retailers and banks to roll-out near field communications (NFC)-enabled mobile payment products and services across multiple mobile networks. This is part of a drive to turn credit, debit and retailer loyalty cards into a SIM-based NFC-enabled mobile wallet.

Tom Alexander, CEO of Everything Everywhere, said there is frustration among retailers and banks about getting products and services on mobile phones,.

Guy Laurence, CEO at Vodafone UK, said the venture would help banks, retailers and other businesses by creating common specifications and technical standards. This makes it cheaper to introduce products and services on mobile phones.

Ronan Dunne, CEO at Telefónica O2 UK, added: "Text-messaging took off when [mobile operators] came together to bring interoperability." He said the joint venture could have the same effect on making mobile payments mainstream in the UK.

The joint venture aims to launch by the end of 2011.

Orange and Barclaycard introduced the first NFC mobile payment system in the UK in May 2011.

The "Quick Tap" payment system can be used via Orange's NFC-enabled Samsung Tocco Lite handset. This allows customers to pay for items under the value of £15.

Read how mobile payments are changing traditional banking >>

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