Report: UK mobile commerce venture Weve reports loss for its first year

Weve, the mobile marketing and payments venture set up by Vodafone UK, EE and O2 UK, posted a loss of around £25 million (€30.6 million/$42 million) in its first financial year, but said revenue grew steadily in 2013 with new services set to boost business further this year.

Citing the company's first filings at Companies House, The Drum noted that the company reported revenue of £13 million for the year to December 31, 2013, and received almost £38 million from its owners to cover its launch costs last year. The Financial Times added that the company saw revenue increase by 40 per cent in the second half of the year.

The Drum said Weve generated the revenue from its mobile messaging business alone; its display and wallet ventures are still in beta phase. The Financial Times said the company is now preparing for a stronger push into the mobile advertising market.

In February, Weve partnered with MasterCard to accelerate the development of what it described as the UK's "most comprehensive contactless mobile payments system".

Weve's approach to mobile marketing and wallet services is to build a unified platform that takes existing industry contactless standards and builds mobile around them, rather than implementing new technologies and protocols that require everyone in the chain to learn something new.

The FT noted that the company pools details from more than 22 million mobile customers in the UK. This database can be used to offer a range of services for advertisers and retailers that want to target specific consumer groups.

Weve CEO David Sear said in February that contactless payments in the UK using cards are taking off, with over 36 million people in the country armed with a compatible card, and 300,000 retailers throughout the country enabled for secure payments.

At the same time, Sear warned that mobile payments "are a bit of a mess", and said unless the mobile payments industry recognises that it has to partner fully with banks and retailers, "we'll be waiting for another 10 years for adoption of mobile payments at scale".

For more:
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
- see this The Drum article

Related Articles:
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Vodafone strikes MoneyGram M-Pesa deal, as Misys buys mobile banking expertise
Weve teams with MasterCard to tackle 'messy' mobile payments market
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