Three of the largest telecommunications firms in the UK have teamed up to help speed up the adoption of mobile payments and m-commerce across the country, it was announced on Friday.
Everything Everywhere – the brand formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile – has combined with O2 parent company Telefonica UK and Vodafone UK in a joint venture (JV) that sees the creation of one single m-commerce ecosystem to help advertisers, retailers and banks reach consumers through their mobile phones.
As a result of the JV, consumers will be able to benefit from the use of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology and pay for goods and services with their mobile handsets.
In addition, users will be able to receive relevant offers and coupons direct to their phones, encouraging the speedy adoption of the technology which businesses and tech firms believe will revolutionise the payments system in the coming years.
Companies and groups that provide services such as credit, debit, loyalty or membership cards, as well as transport tickets, will now be able to create secure mobile versions of their products, negating consumers’ need for a physical wallet.
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.”
Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica UK, added: “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.”
Last month phone retailer Orange and transaction services firm Barclaycard launched the UK’s first contactless mobile payment service, which around 50,000 food and retail outlets including fast food specialists Pret a Manger and general merchandise retailer Wilkinson now accept nationwide.
It is expected that more businesses will adopt the technology in the year ahead, as smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous and consumers demand faster, more convenient services.
Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone UK, remarked: “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 JV is the next phase in realising that ambition.”
Plans are in place to launch the JV later this year, although the collaboration is still subject to competition clearance.