UK operators rename mobile payments JV 'Weve,' hype tailored services

The leading UK operators have renamed their mobile payments joint venture "Weve" and are teaming up  to offer customers specialised services. The JV, previously known as Project Oscar, will launch commercially as Weve early next year, offering customers of the three operators tailored services such as news, apps and m-payments.


The company aims to generate revenue of £1 billion in five years, Nancy Cruickshank, Weve's newly appointed CEO, told the Financial Times. Cruickshank has been in the diital industry for around 20 years and founded, a fashion, beauty and health website.

Weve, which has around 20 employees now, will recruit 150 people, and could expand rapidly given that it could act as a pre-packaged design for use internationally by the three co-owner operators--EE, Telefónica's O2 UK and Vodafone. Of particular note, she said 3 UK and Virgin Media could become involved.

"This has the potential to be significant and transformative for the shareholders," Cruickshank told the FT. "This is the next generation of customer engagement."

"In the centre will be the [customer] experience which we will manage," she said. "Data is being harnessed for the consumer benefit. The right offer at the right time. That's the key."

Weve, which will have access to the combined 65 million customer records of the three operators, plans to use these existing customer relationships to offer services developed internally, as well opening access to third-party advertising, promotions and offers. Customers, who need to opt-in to receive Weve services, will potentially see their preferences, contact lists, browsing history and location being used to ensure targeting is appropriate.

"We can offer a [consumer] brand the chance to launch a campaign across all three shareholders," Cruickshank said. "We have enormous scale."

Commenting on how Weve [said to stand for We've Enabled Vital Experiences] might tackle competition from Google's pending Wallet service and Apple's Passbook, she acknowledged: "These are serious players. That is why it is important to have three operators. Individually, it would be impossible to compete with these sorts of businesses."

The three operators have invested "tens of millions" creating Weve, said Cruickshank, who will leave the JV once Weve is fully operational. A long-term chief executive will then take over, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

For more:
- see this Financial Times article (sub. req.)
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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