Three of Germany’s mobile operators are to build on their existing co-operation in the mobile payments market by turning their joint payment initiative called mpass into a company. Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Germany say they will register mpass as a company, and have signed a letter of understanding to this effect. The plan is for the new company to begin operating “as early as this year”, they say.
Vodafone and Telefonica first launched mpass back in October 2009 as a SMS-based payments service. Then a year later market leader Deutsche Telekom joined the initiative. Now it will become a company. However, there is no sign of Germany’s other mobile operator, E-Plus, being invited on board although its subscribers are able to access the mpass service. The three existing backers say they have big plans for the service. The new company will concentrate on “stepping up distribution and marketing activities as well as developing new products”, they say. The mpass service currently enables secure mobile payments and “soon contactless payments” for users, say the partners. Payment of mobile phone “will increasingly feature in our daily lives”, said Michiel van Eldik, Telefonica Germany’s managing director of wholesale & partner management. NFC phones are already available, he pointed out. “As early as next year consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home and paying by mobile phone instead,” he predicted.