Dutch partners drop plans for NFC joint venture - Mobile World Live

Dutch partners drop plans for NFC joint venture

23 JUL 2012

KPN, Vodafone and three banks have decided not to go ahead with a proposed joint venture for offering NFC-based mobile payment services in the Netherlands. While the two mobile operators along with ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank still plan to launch NFC-based services, they now want to adopt a looser structure than the joint venture.

The partners cited the complexity of gaining regulatory approval as the reason for dropping its current plans. The European Commission is currently investigating the similar Project Oscar joint venture of leading UK mobile operators in what has become a test case for such proposals. Mobile operators in other countries around Europe in addition to the Netherlands and the UK have also announced similar joint ventures and are following the case.

The Dutch joint venture is called Sixpack (the sixth member T-Mobile dropped out in November 2011 reportedly citing concerns about the venture’s business case).

KPN, Vodafone and the other partners will now look at a new structure for the joint venture. This would be looser than the current arrangement. For instance, NFC World says the group has discussed an approach like that of France’s Cityzi NFC service whereby each mobile operator and service provider maintains their own Trusted Service Manager (TSM). Under the Sixpack model, the joint venture would have controlled a single TSM for the service.

The European Commission announced in April that it would make an indepth inquiry into the Project Oscar proposal by UK operators, Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere. The commission is due to announce its verdict by August 27. Ironically a recent report said the EC plans to give Project Oscar the go ahead with only minimal changes to its plans.

The Dutch partners say Sixpack’s services will include loyalty, ticketing, public transport but payments at the point of sale remain its priority. The original aim of the group was to launch services this year but that slipped to 2013.

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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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