U.S. Mobile Operators Announce Planned ‘Isis’ NFC Service

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile USA announced their joint venture today, with plans to introduce NFC-based mobile payment in selected markets during the next 18 months.

The joint venture, calling its planned mobile-commerce network and brand "Isis," said it intends to use the carriers' massive customer base–more than 200 million combined subscribers–to lead the payments industry in the United States in the transition from cards to mobile phones. The mobile wallets the telcos offer on NFC phones will also provide membership and loyalty programs, personalized coupons, rewards and content.

The mobile carriers also announced their long-awaited pick for CEO of the venture, payments industry veteran Michael Abbott, formerly of GE Capital. The company the telcos formed, called JVL Ventures, is based in New York City.

"Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers," said Abbott in a statement. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes."

The telcos also confirmed they will partner with Discover Financial Services to tap in on Discover’s network of 7 million merchant locations in the United States–although fewer than 2% of those are now equipped to handle contactless payments. Barclaycard US will be the first issuer of "multiple mobile-payment products." But Abbott said in the statement that "moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers."  

While Discover’s network and its Zip contactless application is present on most of the roughly 100,000 merchant locations that also accept contactless payment from Visa- and MasterCard-branded cards, the joint venture will have to build up the acceptance infrastructure greatly if it hopes to successfully wean consumers off of cards, say observers. The telcos are expected to first target cities with high concentrations of contactless terminals, such as New York City.

Abbott joined GE Capital, the financial services unit of General Electric Co., in 2002. According to the joint venture, he led strategy, marketing and product development for the GE unit’s private-label cards division. Before that, he served as executive vice president of marketing for credit card services at FleetBoston. There he launched new card products.

The telcos had searched for a CEO for months, and NFC Times learned they had been close to making an appointment on at least one occasion. The long-overdue hiring could help bring focus to the group, which faces an uphill climb to take on the major U.S. card networks Visa and MasterCard, along with major U.S. banks, in launching a new payment service.

It was unclear if the NFC services the announcement said the venture plans to launch within 18 months are in fact the pilots the group reportedly plans to hold by late 2011. 

 

HEADLINE NEWS

OTI Gets Favorable Ruling in NFC Patent Infringement Case; Reports Continued Losses for 2014

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – A U.S. district court judge has ruled that T-Mobile USA infringed an NFC patent held by Israel-based On Track Innovations.

Gemalto Claims 25% of U.S. EMV Market; Seeks to Take Spotlight Off SIM

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – France-based Gemalto, which is keen to take the spotlight off its SIM business, projects EMV cards to represent perhaps the largest expected source of revenue growth in the coming year.

Square Acquires Payment Processing Tech Vendor Kili; May be Planning NFC mPOS, but Will it Keep DeviceFidelity?

Mar 13 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – UPDATED: Mobile point-of-sale device supplier Square has acquired payment processing component vendor Kili Technology, the same vendor that purchased NFC accessory vendor DeviceFidelity in November, but Square does not plan to keep DeviceFidelity, a source connected with Square told NFC Times.

Samsung Pay Unpacked: Details on Samsung’s Planned Business Model, Architecture and Unannounced Banks Revealed

NFC Times Exclusive – NFC Times has learned new details about how Samsung intends to make money from its planned payments service, Samsung Pay; as well as the technology architecture the OEM will use and the identity of two unannounced banks, along with a new category of issuer that is planning to participate.

Analysis: Gemalto Abandons Hard-Line Stance on NFC in Embracing Tokenization, Supporting HCE

NFC Times Exclusive – The public relations debacle Gemalto faced following revelations last month that U.S. and UK spy agencies had stolen keys from its SIM cards is not the only problem the France-based vendor has had to deal with regarding SIMs.

People on the Move: MasterCard Makes Executive Changes to Mobile Team

NFC Times Exclusive – MasterCard Worldwide has named James Anderson group executive for platforms, a key position inside the payment network, which is seeking to secure its role in the ecosystem as mobile payments start to gather steam, NFC Times has learned.

Commonwealth Bank Launching HCE; Other Australian Banks Expected to Follow

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – One of Australia’s largest banks, Commonwealth Bank, is launching NFC payments from its mobile-banking app using host-card emulation, having earlier tried embedded secure elements, contactless stickers and iPhone attachments.

Android Pay Expected to Support HCE, Targeted to Encourage More Third-Party Payments Apps

NFC Times Exclusive Insight ­– Google’s recently announced API for NFC payments applications, Android Pay, is expected to support apps using host card emulation, or HCE, but also likely will support storage of keys on hardware.

Apple Releases Launch Date, More Details for Smartwatch; Set to Become Premier Payments Wearable

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Apple’s new wearable, Apple Watch, will support Apple Pay as well as mobile keys for hotel rooms, the company announced Monday.

Galaxy S6 to Carry Embedded Secure Element; Samsung Splits NFC Controller Contract

Mar 2 2015

BARCELONA, Spain – NFC Times Exclusive (UPDATED): The Galaxy S6 will carry an embedded secure element, mainly to enable nonpayment applications, while supporting NFC payments with host-card emulation and storing payment tokens in a secure area on the processor, an ARM-based TrustZone, a representative of Samsung told NFC Times. The embedded secure element also could be used to store tokens outside of the U.S. 

Samsung to Launch Apple Pay Rival in Summer Using Proprietary Technology and NFC

Mar 2 2015

BARCELONA, Spain – NFC Times Exclusive Insight: Samsung Electronics has unveiled its Apple Pay rival, which it calls Samsung Pay, a mobile-payments service that, as expected, supports technology from Samsung’s recent acquisition of LoopPay combined with NFC. 

MasterCard, Visa Tout Host-Card Emulation Projects, as Buzz Returns to HCE

Mar 1 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Following a lull in attention on host-card emulation with the announcement and launch of Apple Pay in the latter half of last year, the buzz appears to be back on HCE, and among the latest organizations promoting it is MasterCard Worldwide.