Collaborating on m payments, possibly also punishing a rival

Posted on September 10, 2011  /  0 Comments

Making m payments work is not easy. Common standards have to be created and accepted, so that retailers have to invest in one piece of equipment. They are trying to do it in the UK but also giving the elbow to a disruptive competitor.

That may be changing, however. In France, the government in 2010 began trials of mobile payments for bus and train tickets in Nice and Paris. Even Google, the search engine leader, has said it plans to introduce a mobile payment service, Google Wallet, in Europe by 2012.

In Britain, most mobile operators and some banks have conducted trials of their own mobile payment services, but the fragmented approach has discouraged large retailers from making the investments necessary to adopt the technology. John Delaney, an analyst with International Data Corporation in London, said a common platform that was set up and run by the three British operators would accelerate mobile payment in Britain.

“Mobile payment has moved beyond its infancy and is now poised for commercial deployment,” Mr. Delaney said. “The benefits of a common platform are that it makes it easier and less expensive for retailers to adopt and install the systems without having to deal with individual operators and conflicting technical standards.”

Everything Everywhere, Telefónica and Vodafone said they all had advanced mobile advertising and payment programs under way, and did not intentionally exclude their rival.

“It made sense to bring their expertise and experience together to get the venture up and running as quickly as possible, before turning to the industry for further participation,” the operators said in their statement.

Mr. Lerner said the exclusion was retribution for Three U.K.’s efforts to lower consumer calling and Internet prices, as well as its campaign to cut the price of interoperator termination charges, which are regulated by the government and tend to benefit the larger mobile companies.

Three also lets its customers use Skype, a rival Internet service that allows consumers to avoid mobile charges

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