Top UK networks unite for ‘mobile wallet’ service

17/06/2011

Vodafone UK, Telefónica UK (the owners of O2) and Everything Everywhere (the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile), are working on a mobile commerce joint venture, in a bid to improve mobile payments in the UK. The project will aim to produce a single ecosystem for m-commerce helping advertisers, retailers and banks to reach consumers through their mobile phones.

17/06/2011

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.

The venture will provide a single contact for advertisers, marketing partners, retailers and banks making it far easier to create m-commerce products and services.

Everything Everywhere, Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK will continue to develop their own competing products and services tailored to their own customers, which will be based on the open platform infrastructure provided by the JV.

Tom Alexander, CEO of Everything Everywhere, commented: "This groundbreaking new business will unlock the true potential of commerce in the wire-free world. 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. And for partners operating in these industries, having a one-stop shop to deal with will make things quicker, easier and more efficient. This Joint Venture will further reinforce mobile as the essential 21st century device at the heart of people's daily lives.”

Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK, said: “We are seeing an explosion in the m-commerce market. Mobile advertising spend alone has more than doubled in two years as consumers embrace marketing on their handsets because it is now relevant to them and provides a great customer experience. The mobile marketing and payments market is extremely fragmented. By creating this new business we will underpin this nascent market, providing real size and scale, allowing consumers to benefit from new and innovative services, like the mobile wallet, and giving them more of the things they value, through offers and deals that are truly relevant to them. At the same time business customers will reach a vastly increased audience, utilising a single platform for sales, delivery and payment. This is not just something that is unique in the UK, but a JV that will create a model that many countries around the world could follow.”

Guy Laurence, Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone UK, said: "Since Vodafone made the first ever call just 26 years ago, mobile phones have transformed people’s lives. Along the way, the mobile phone has become the one item people really cannot be without. It is the first thing they reach for in the morning and the last thing they check at night. Over recent years it has integrated new gadgets such as digital cameras and music players as they have become popular. The new generation of smartphones is even taking on desktop PC by providing internet on the move and removing the need to be in the home or office. Currently people take their mobile, 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. The joint venture is the next phase in realising that ambition.”

It will be open and available to all industry participants, maximising benefits to consumers.

Companies and organisations that provide anything from credit, debit and loyalty cards to membership cards and transport tickets will be able to create secure mobile versions of their products. Consumers will be able to use their mobiles to pay for goods, services and travel using contactless technology (NFC) with one touch of their phone, or online via mobile or PC.

The venture is subject to competition clearance and is aiming to launch before the end of the year.

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