The European Commission (EC) is ready to approve the UK mobile commerce joint venture established by Vodafone, Telefónica's O2 UK and Everything Everywhere, according to multiple reports.
Anti-trust officials within the EC are said to be preparing to grant the JV--codenamed Project Oscar--unconditional approval ahead of the Sept. 19 deadline for a decisions, according to reports from Bloomberg and Reuters, citing unnamed sources.
In April, EC regulators announced they would extend their investigation into Project Oscar, claiming the JV could hamper competitors from offering their own mobile wallet services to UK customers. However, regulators decided not to circulate a formal statement of objections earlier this year setting out potential concerns with the deal, the sources told Bloomberg.
Critics such as 3 UK, the UK's No. 4 operator, have protested about being excluded from the JV, claiming that the proposed m-wallet service would give the three operator partners a monopoly in mobile "push" advertising and m-payments, according to Reuters.
The original objective behind Project Oscar was to provide banks and advertisers with access to services that would allow customers to buy items from a wide variety of stores using their smartphones. Other m-commerce services would also be included within the package, such as associated data analytics.
U.K. m-payments JV 'Project Oscar' reportedly delayed by EU probe
Report: Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone prep mobile ad network
UK operators submit mobile wallet plan to EU as 3UK wades in
Sweden's big four operators launch WyWallet m-wallet service