FT Orange cool to Google Wallet, calls for m-commerce openness

France Telecom (FT) Orange became the first European operator to publicly criticise Google's recently launched Google Wallet service. The operator said that there should be a common and open platform for operators and handset makers.

Samsung Wave 578

In a statement, Orange indicated it is against a mobile commerce system that will only work with one smartphone operating system, as Google does with the company's Android platform. "We welcome market competition," Orange said, according to New Media Age, "but firmly believe that establishing a common platform across all handsets and operators, rather than a different one per operating system, is key to making mobile payments a reality. Too many different platforms can be confusing or restricting for those businesses looking to adopt them."

Google launched its NFC-based Google Wallet service last week in New New York City and San Francisco. The search giant partnered with Citi, MasterCard, Sprint Nextel and First Data for the offering, and confirmed last week that it is working to incorporate the NFC specifications of Visa, Discover and American Express to work with future versions of Google Wallet.

FT pointed to the recent UK initiative that involves Vodafone, Telefónica's O2 and itself as an indication of the way forward for m-commerce. "The aim of the recently announced joint venture with Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK is to create a single, secure m-commerce platform, which will ultimately allow customers to leave their wallets at home with confidence and security," the operator said.

FT already has m-commerce working arrangements with Bouygues Telecom and SFR in France based upon the Cityzi NFC service, which is already in use with over 150,000 mobile devices. As evidence of its intent to push ahead with building its NFC-based m-commerce business, Orange has now unveiled a second handset in the UK that supports its Quick Tap NFC mobile payment service, which it launched in May with Barclaycard.

The company said the new Quick Tap-compatible Samsung Wave 578 smartphone will join the existing Samsung Tocco, both of which use Samsung's proprietary operating system, bada.

Commenting on the success of Quick Tap, Everything Everywhere director of m-payments and ticketing, Jason Rees, told Mobile News that take-up had been "in line with expectations."

O2 UK is said to be close to launching its own m-wallet service as early as next month. However, no details have leaked out over whether it will use NFC or operate with a number of smartphone operating systems

For more:
- see this New Media Age article (sub. req.)
- see this Mobile News article

Related Articles:
Google Wallet launches in New York, San Francisco
Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone forge JV to fast-track m-commerce
FT Orange partners with BNP Paribas on m-banking initiative
Mobile operators demoted to dumb pipes by new UK payment platform
Study: German smartphone users like m-commerce, but barriers remain
Telenor and MasterCard try again with m-payments pilot

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