EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW: US mobile commerce joint venture Isis – backed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – has provided further insight into its plans to commercially launch the service nationwide later this year, revealing that it is primarily counting on the operators to ramp up consumer interest as it seeks to attract further big name members.
“We will be doing some marketing that’s direct but for the most part we will be participating with the carriers, with the merchants, and trying to bring a message to consumers that explains to them what the Isis wallet is, how they can use it and where they can use it,” Kai Johnson, chief architect at Isis, told Mobile World Live in a new video interview.
Indeed, while Johnson wouldn’t reveal exactly when the high-profile NFC service will go nationwide this year (following trials in Salt Lake City and Austin), he admitted that convincing consumers to actually use the Isis service to make payments, collect loyalty points and redeem coupons is one of the major obstacles to success: “This is a little bit of a change for everyone. It’s the first time that consumers have to get an application [and SIM card] that makes payments directly from a mobile phone; contactless payment is something that’s new to a lot of people. So we really want to make sure we get the message out and explain to people how to tap-and-pay and make sure that people understand this is something that’s really simple to do – you learn it once and then you never have to learn it again.”
Johnson said Isis also hasn’t closed the door on Sprint, the only top four US operator not to have jumped on board. “Isis is always open to anyone who wants to join. It’s one of the founding principles of the partnership,” he commented. “It’s not just AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. We bring along all the payment networks, we are open to all the banks participating and, of course, we are open to participation with any other merchants. One of the fundamental concepts behind Isis is that it is open to participation of other mobile operators.”
Elsewhere in the interview Johnson touches on the subject of iPhone support for Isis (a ‘snap-on’ case will be available at operator stores together with the iTunes application for download), as well as how Isis is differentiating itself from other mobile commerce services already available in the US.
He also told Mobile World Live that the venture is hoping to attract more credit card firms for commercial launch, beyond American Express and Chase (“Of course we’d like to have more of the financial institutions join us. We’re talking with them and I expect that we will have some announcements to make in the future”).