Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica O2, Vodafone create German m-payment JV

Germany's three major operators are to revamp their existing mobile payments initiative with the launch of NFC-based services. Deutsche Telekom (DT), Telefónica O2 and Vodafone have agreed to overhaul the current Mpass agreement by creating a joint venture to operate the payment system.

The JV, which will retain the Mpass brand, will initially target the regional deployment of NFC stickers starting early 2012. The JV will have responsibility for sales, marketing and product development.

Formed as a SMS-based payment service in 2009, Mpass was, according to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, hidebound by the slow decision-making process of the three founding companies. The new JV, which will be jointly owned by the three operators, is designed to make contactless payments --using the NFC sticker--a part of consumers' everyday life.

However, the JV has not invited Germany's fourth-largest operator, E-Plus, to become part of this new drive--similar to the exclusion of 3UK from the m-commerce initiative planned by Vodafone UK, O2 UK and Everything Everywhere--although E-Plus subscribers will be given access to the Mpass service.

Commenting on the new plan, a DT spokesman said that NFC is a topic of high interest, and could potentially become part of a new smartphone and contactless infrastructure.

"Payment by mobile phone will increasingly feature in our daily lives," Michiel van Eldik, the managing director of wholesale and partner management at Telefónica O2 Germany, told NFC World. "The first NFC smartphones, with full functionality for all aspects of credit and bonus cards, are already in the stores. I think that even as early as next year consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home and paying by mobile phone instead."

Handelsblatt reported the new JV is already negotiating with fast food restaurants, drug stores and coffee shops to recruit them as partners to Mpass.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Handelsblatt article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this NFC World article

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