U.S. mobile payments race heats up among Tier 1 carriers

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said it will to introduce a Near Field Communications-based mobile payments service by the end of 2011, months ahead of Isis, the nationwide mobile commerce network pushed by rival operators Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA. Sprint plans to make its NFC system an open solution where consumers can use their phone to pay for things in a variety of physical locations. Meanwhile, Isis named Salt Lake City as its first launch market, stating it will team with local merchants and business leaders to roll out a pilot program slated to go live in early-to-mid-2012. Isis, which had previously said it will partner with Discover Financial Services to build out the necessary mobile payment infrastructure, indicated the network will be available to all payment networks, merchants, banks and mobile carriers. Article