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Vodafone CEO: Weve’s services to launch in 2013


Richard Handford

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Vittorio Colao, group chief executive of Vodafone, says Weve, the B2B mcommerce venture between the UK’s three mobile operators, will launch services in 2013, according to an interview with The Telegraph.

The timing is in line with that laid out by Tony Moretta, a director of Weve, in an interview last month with Mobile World Live. In fact, Moretta spelled out Weve’s rollout in some detail. Mobile display advertising is planned for mid-2013 along with coupons, loyalty and offers. A mobile wallet is also mooted for this year. NFC-based mobile payments are at least 12 months away, he said.

Weve’s actual launch, albeit a soft one, was just before the end of 2012 with the launch by partners O2 and Everything Everywhere of SMS-based advertising services. Third partner Vodafone is coming on board early this year.

In the Telegraph interview, Colao does not specify a launch date during 2013 but the article says “it is expected to be towards the end of the year”.  However, it is unclear which services he is referring to.

Colao also mentions in the same Telegraph interview how Vodafone looked in recent years at becoming a bank, a process that requires a banking licence. “We looked into [becoming a bank] for the last 15 years – very seriously. I even got a banking licence in Italy,” he said.

However, the operator has now abandoned such an approach because banking requires different skills to running a mobile network, said Colao.

This is a common position among Europe’s mobile operators. There was a trend some years ago for European operators to consider acquiring banking licences. That trend has now passed.

The emphasis for operators is now on services such as mobile payments that require a subscriber to have a mobile wallet issued by their operator but not a bank account.

Subscribers continue to use their existing debit and credit cards but place the cards in the operator’s wallet. Instead mobile operators charge banks to place their cards in the wallet.

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