Everything Everywhere, the UK’s biggest mobile phone operator and owner of the Orange and T-Mobile brands, is to launch a ‘wave-and-pay’ service that will allow users to pay for goods via their mobiles.
The company has signed a deal with MasterCard to launch the system, after earlier unsuccessful attempts to launch a ‘mobile wallet’ service faltered. Initially, it will allow Everything Everywhere customers to use their mobiles to make payments at 100,000 retailers around the UK, but it will soon expand to allow customers to send money to each other or use their mobiles for shopping online.
“Our vision is of a world beyond cash and the phone is a key tool to driving this step-change,” said Marion King, president of MasterCard UK and Ireland. “As the sophistication of smartphones continues to evolve, and the mobile payments ecosystem starts to open up, I believe that people will use their mobile phones in lieu of a traditional wallet and start making higher-end purchases, such as white goods or even cars, all with their phones.”
The deal casts doubt over plans for a joint venture company between Everything Everywhere and its main rivals, Vodafone and o2, to launch a mobile payments service. The three companies announced the scheme, dubbed Project Oscar, in June 2011, which aimed to develop a single set of technical standards that would enable mobile payments on all networks and devices, and also act as a single sales agent to banks, retailers and other advertisers wishing to launch new products. However, the project has encountered several delays from regulators.
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