Isis: Contactless acceptance has doubled - Mobile World Live

Isis: Contactless acceptance has doubled

27 FEB 2013

LIVE FROM MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS: Acceptance of contactless payments has doubled in the two US cities where Isis has been running its NFC-based trial, said Ryan Hughes, the operator-backed venture’s CMO, speaking during congress.

Isis, which is backed by AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, has been running a mobile payments trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, since October last year.

Hughes also mentioned that the average user in the Salt Lake City trial pays for goods or services five times or more per week using their NFC-based handset, a statistic that has previously been mentioned by another Isis executive.

However Hughes also acknowledged the complexity of working with partners, which was the theme of the session. “We thought we could transform shopping by handing out NFC handsets. We then realised it was going to be a little bit more complicated than that.”

The first challenge was getting three competing mobile operators to work together. The trick was to create value for everyone, he said. “The first challenge is not technical. It’s about relationships.”

The other relationships that have to be managed include with card issuers and merchants.
“This stuff is difficult,” he said. And then warned any other operators contemplating a similar move that “it is a long and wild ride.”

Isis’s trial launch in the two US cities was originally planned for earlier in 2012 but suffered a delay.

In contrast with Isis, speaking In the same session was Turkcell, the country’s largest mobile operator, which has launched an NFC-based service on its own rather than in co-operation with its rivals.

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Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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