In a move that could ripple across Europe, Italy's leading mobile operators have unveiled a common m-payments initiative that will enable subscribers to pay for content and services using their mobile accounts.
The operators involved--Telecom Italia's mobile arm TIM, Vodafone Italy, Wind, 3 Italia, PosteMobile and Fastweb--have agreed to use technology developed by Reply that will allow subscribers to purchase items based upon the telephone number of their mobile subscription.
Reply's software platform uses the mobile number as an authentication key to enable items to be paid for using either a handset, PC or tablet, with the value then appearing on the subscriber's mobile bill. This new service, which is similar to a scheme already launched by the three main operators in France, will open up m-payment services to over 46 million consumers that subscribe to one of the mobile operators involved.
"The joint launch of this initiative opens the door to m-commerce for all. A secure and open system based on a device in extremely widespread use," the companies said in a joint statement as reported by Dow Jones Newswires.
According to research conducted by PwC Advisory, over 90 per cent of transactions in Italy are still made using cash, compared with an European Union average of less than 70 per cent. PwC Advisory, which also helped define the scope of the project, said that this situation presented the Italian mobile operators with a significant opportunity.
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