Having received the go ahead from the EU regulators, Project Oscar will now be formed with the aim of launching a new mobile payment solution in the EU. Project Oscar is a joint venture between Vodafone, Everything Anywhere (Orange & T-Mobile) and Telefonica (O2) .
The aim is to offer a mobile phone based payment system as an alternative to cash, cards and loyalty schemes.
In a statement the joint venture companies said that they want “services open to all, including all mobile operators and mobile virtual network operators, 3rd party publishers, banks, advertising agencies, retailers and any company that wants to engage in this space”.
The mobile operator Three, who opposed the EU approving the partnership, have now said they’re pleased the EU didn’t find any competition issues and that they “will continue to monitor developments closely and look forward to the invitation to become a customer of the joint venture on the same terms as all participating UK mobile operators”.
How well the offering will be received by consumers has yet to be seen. Google have had limited success with their NFC solution with Google Wallet and in reality have done little other than a pilot in a few US cities. PayPal have eschewed NFC as too costly for retailers to work with and they have a point, I’ve had an NFC bank card for ages and there are very few retailers with point of sale equipment where I can use contactless payments.
Is the EU ready for mobile payment yet? Would you leave your wallet at home and trust to your mobile phone to be able to buy a train or bus ticket, pay for a taxi, buy your groceries, go for a pint? Today it’s not even close to becoming a reality but if everyone involved with mobile payments is right one day it may be possible to live without cash and cards.