The three companies, which run the Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and O2 mobile phone networks had developed the mobile commerce joint venture to effectively standardise the industry, by providing a single point of contact for potential revenue partners, such as advertisers, retailers and banks. This will aid the development of mobile payment systems, loyalty systems and other industry wide mobile revenue earning initiatives.
Mobile payments to finally become a reality?
Unfortunately creating such a monolithic structure, which also excludes mobile operator Three, drew heavy scrutiny from European regulators during the submission process. Submitted in June last year, it was expected to be passed by the end of 2011.
With unconditional European Commission clearance received today, the as-yet-unnamed entity (codenamed: Project Oscar) can start hiring staff and formerly creating the new company.
This new entity will allow companies, banks and organisations to create secure mobile versions of their transaction-based products, such as credit cards, loyalty cards and mobile tickets. Consumers will be able to use their mobiles to pay for goods, services and travel using NFC (near field communication).
NFC payment, which have long been bogged in a quagmire, has finally started to rise in popularity since the hardware started appearing in phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, the new Nokia Lumia range (to be announced tonight) and is rumoured to be in the next iPhone, which launches next week.
"The mobile marketing platform is expected to be the first part of the business that is brought to market. The JV has the potential to transform the mobile marketing landscape in the UK. It will remove a number of the barriers that currently inhibit growth and create a single channel with access to millions of UK consumers at launch... For consumers, this means they will be able to receive the discounts and offers that they want to receive from the brands that are relevant to them," the companies said in a joint statement.
The JV claims that its services will be open to all its operators and mobile virtual network operators (such as Tesco and Giffgaff), and any other company that wants to engage in this space.
However, the three companies in the JV will continue to develop their own competing products and services.
See CBR's feature story on the mobile payments war here.
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