U.S. Mobile Operators Announce Planned ‘Isis’ NFC Service

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA announced their joint venture today, with plans to introduce NFC-based mobile payment in selected markets during the next 18 months.

The joint venture, calling its planned mobile-commerce network and brand "Isis," said it intends to use the carriers' massive customer base–more than 200 million combined subscribers–to lead the payments industry in the United States in the transition from cards to mobile phones. The mobile wallets the telcos offer on NFC phones will also provide membership and loyalty programs, personalized coupons, rewards and content.

The mobile carriers also announced their long-awaited pick for CEO of the venture, payments industry veteran Michael Abbott, formerly of GE Capital. The company the telcos formed, called JVL Ventures, is based in New York City.

"Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers," said Abbott in a statement. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes."

The telcos also confirmed they will partner with Discover Financial Services to tap in on Discover’s network of 7 million merchant locations in the United States–although fewer than 2% of those are now equipped to handle contactless payments. Barclaycard US will be the first issuer of "multiple mobile-payment products." But Abbott said in the statement that "moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers."  

While Discover’s network and its Zip contactless application is present on most of the roughly 100,000 merchant locations that also accept contactless payment from Visa- and MasterCard-branded cards, the joint venture will have to build up the acceptance infrastructure greatly if it hopes to successfully wean consumers off of cards, say observers. The telcos are expected to first target cities with high concentrations of contactless terminals, such as New York City.

Abbott joined GE Capital, the financial services unit of General Electric Co., in 2002. According to the joint venture, he led strategy, marketing and product development for the GE unit’s private-label cards division. Before that, he served as executive vice president of marketing for credit card services at FleetBoston. There he launched new card products.

The telcos had searched for a CEO for months, and NFC Times learned they had been close to making an appointment on at least one occasion. The long-overdue hiring could help bring focus to the group, which faces an uphill climb to take on the major U.S. card networks Visa and MasterCard, along with major U.S. banks, in launching a new payment service.

It was unclear if the NFC services the announcement said the venture plans to launch within 18 months are in fact the pilots the group reportedly plans to hold by late 2011. 



Citigroup to Launch ‘Citi Pay’ Mobile Payments Service with Help from Mastercard

NFC Times Exclusive – U.S.-based Citigroup plans to soon launch its own NFC-based mobile payments service, Citi Pay, in the U.S. and Asia, in part using technology from Mastercard, NFC Times has learned.

Apple Pay Launch in Japan Opens Up More Opportunities for Third-Party Vendors

NFC Times Exclusive – As Apple moves closer to launching Apple Pay in Japan, the FeliCa-based service is opening up business opportunities for third-party technology suppliers, unlike most other countries where Apple Pay has launched.

Seamless Goes Ahead with HCE Expansion of SEQR Mobile Wallet for European Users

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Following the initial soft launch of its NFC payments service in its home base, Sweden-based Seamless Distribution, the parent company of the SEQR wallet, is enabling HCE for all European users as it seeks global acceptance of its proprietary mobile payments service.

Apple Pay Expands to Russia with Support from Mastercard and Country’s Biggest Bank

Exclusive NFC Times Insight – Less than a week after Samsung switched on its mobile payments service in Russia, Apple has launched Apple Pay in the country, continuing the international expansion of its NFC payments service to a 10th market.

Reported Qualcomm Deal for NXP Not Expected to Limit NFC Chip Availability

Oct 4 2016

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –  If a planned acquisition by Qualcomm of NXP Semiconductors, as reported, were to go through, it would not affect supplies of NFC chips to smartphone makers using other processor chips, said an expert.

Samsung Pay to Launch in Russia with Support from Mastercard and Limited Number of Banks

Sep 30 2016

UPDATED: NFC Times Excusive Insight – Samsung Pay is expected to launch in Russia tomorrow, beating Apple to the market, which disclosed earlier this month that it plans a Russian launch of Apple Pay before the end of the year.

Two Major Taiwanese Telcos Plan to Adopt HCE, as They Deal with TSM Troubles and Imminent Arrival of OEM Pay

Sep 26 2016

NFC Times Exclusive –  In the first cases of its kind to come to light, two of Taiwan’s largest telcos are planning to support host card emulation in their wallets, as they seek to overcome problems with their joint TSM and to prepare for the coming of OEM Pay to Taiwan, expected in the first quarter of next year, NFC Times has learned.

Prepping for the Pays: Far EasTone Offers Range of Wallet Services It Believes Apple Can’t Match

NFC Times Exclusive – With the expected arrival of such OEM Pay services as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay as early as the first quarter of next year, Taiwan’s major telcos are gearing up to keep their own mobile wallets competitive.

Czech Banks See Opportunity for Deploying HCE Mobile Payments

NFC Times Exclusive – Czech banks are looking to capitalize on a growing contactless point-of-sale infrastructure in the country, with two of the five largest banks there having already launched HCE-based mobile payments and the others looking to join the market, NFC Times has learned.

OEM Pay Services Drive Renewed Interest in NFC Transit Ticketing, Especially in China

Sep 28 2016

NFC Times Exclusive – The planned launch of NFC transit ticketing in Japan next month with Apple Pay shined the spotlight on the emergence of closed-loop NFC transit ticketing–which has been seen as a prime application for NFC phones but one that has disappointed NFC backers for years.

Analysis: Agreements with Visa, Mastercard and Earlier Deal with Discover Could Help PayPal Reverse Years of Failures at Physical Point of Sale

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Agreements that were announced with Visa, Discover and, last week, Mastercard may finally help PayPal reverse years of failed attempts to enable customers to pay with its PayPal Wallet in stores.

Analysis: FeliCa Mobile Payment and Ticketing Nothing New in Japan, as Apple Strains for Apple Pay Developments to Spotlight

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple Wednesday confirmed that its new iPhone 7 smartphones and second-generation Apple Watch will support Sony’s proprietary FeliCa technology in Japan, as earlier reported, enabling transit and retail payments when Apple Pay launches in Japan next month. The tech giant will also expand Apple Pay into New Zealand and Russia this year, though was able to announce only one issuer so far between the two countries.