UK carriers Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone are unsurprisingly smug today, after the EC approved their collective mobile commerce plan despite objections from Google and others. The joint venture was announced back in June 2011, a partnership which would build the underlying infrastructure for sales, delivery and payment, but became the subject of a regulatory probe after Google and rival carrier Three objected.
However, regulators obviously found no aspect of the plans to be worrying, and so the three networks are free to push ahead with the JV. The goal is to not only put together a payments system, allowing subscribers to charge items to their handsets instead of using cards or cash, but to “provide a single contact point for media agencies, retailers and brands, enabling them to create campaigns that will reach millions of opted-in mobile users.”
The service will be cross-platform and cross-operator, though each will be building its own user-facing mobile payments brand on top of the shared underlying technology. “For consumers, this means they will be able to receive the discounts and offers that they want to receive from the brands that are relevant to them” the trio says.
As for Three’s complaints that it had not been invited to join the joint venture, Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone UK claim their rival is very welcome to get involved. “The shareholders remain committed to making the JV services open to all,” the three said in a statement, “including all operators and MVNOs, 3rd party publishers, banks, advertising agencies, retailers and any company that wants to engage in this space.”
There’s no indication of when the mobile commerce platform will launch in the UK.