Isis delays rollout - Top Turkeys 2012


Isis, the nationwide mobile commerce network announced in late 2010 by partners Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA, has taken a long and winding round toward commercial launch. In April 2011 Isis identified Salt Lake City as its first test market. In June 2011, Austin, Texas, was added as a test market and Isis said it would roll out its Near Field Communications-based contactless payment services to select merchant locations in the first half of 2012. Six handset makers--HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung Electronics and Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile Communications)--announced their support for Isis.

In February 2012, Isis pushed back its timeline slightly and said it was intent on launching service in Austin and Sale Lake City in the summer. As the spring wore on, Isis continued to build out its ecosystem by announcing agreements with point-of-sale terminal manufacturers VeriFone, Ingenico, ViVOtech and Equinox Payments and adding more merchants to its roster, including Aeropostale, Coca-Cola Company, Champs, Dillard's, Foot Locker, Jamba Juice and Macy's. 

Then, in mid-September, Isis said it was going to miss its target of launching during the summer because it was still fine-tuning the overall customer experience. After so much buildup, the delay was a blow, but one Isis executive said the delay was necessary because the company wanted to get the service right.

Isis eventually launched its service Oct. 22 with nine NFC-compatible Android devices. Initial assessments of the service said Isis was working fine but was underwhelming. For Isis, after such a long delay, the company will need to build up credibility as a payments method and expand its service.