The NFC dream just got a little more real; O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone have announced that they’re all set to work together on developing a “single ecosystem for m-commerce” using NFC that is estimated "to launch before the end of the year."
As well as benefiting from a mobile wallet payment system customers will be able to receive coupons and offers “delivered direct to their phone” - we’re imagining things like Groupon and Living Social deals alongside network-specific promotions like Orange Wednesday.
As well as tapping to pay for stuff in the high street with your phone, the new payments system will also allow you to buy things “online via mobile or PC”.
The press release, which emerged over on O2’s News Centre, also states that the venture “will be open and available to all industry participants”.
Even though Three isn’t part of this joint venture, chief executive Kevin Russell said that the numerical network is keen on launching mobile payments across its network alongside the other four, but wants to ‘test’ how open and available the venture is. In a statement, Russell said:
“Directionally, this is a good move on taking m-commerce forward. As the leader in the adoption of mobile internet services in the UK we would want and expect to be at the heart of a cross-industry development like this and are more than a little concerned that – as a core competitor – we have been excluded from this joint venture. The crucial test of the openness of this initiative will be our ability to launch services for all UK mobile consumers simultaneously.”
O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone UK are to provide start-up investment for the joint venture. So presumably Three will have to pony up if it wants to join the party.
Back in May, O2 announced that it was working with various partners to launch an mobile wallet service of it’s own. Previously Orange had announced its NFC-enabled SIM cards and collaborated with Samsung on the Wave 578.