UK mobile operators create m-commerce joint venture

Last week, three of the UK’s four mobile network operators announced a mobile marketing and payments joint venture.

The venture is subject to regulatory approval, and is summarised in the press release as:

  • Creation of a single ecosystem for m-commerce helping advertisers, retailers and banks to reach consumers through their mobile phones
  • Consumers will be able to replace their physical wallet with a secure mobile wallet using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology to pay for goods and services
  • Consumers will also benefit from relevant offers and coupons, delivered direct to their phone
  • Everything Everywhere, Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK to provide start-up investment

The mobile operators will continue to compete in the retail market, so it appears that the join venture will not affect the previously announced mobile payment products from O2 and Orange/Barclays.

Instead the strategic rationale for the joint venture appears to be around creating a common interoperable infrastructure platform, and also gaining economies of scale.

With initial products already launched by O2 and Orange, the next announcement to look out for is the retail proposition from Vodafone.