Some time ago, it was reported that AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA Inc. have teamed up for a mobile payment service called Isis. It had been originally scheduled for launching during the first half of this year. However, there had been delays to make sure that the service is completely secure. Such delays pushed the launch to next month.
The announcement comes from Doug Bergeron, the Chief Executive Officer of VeriFone Systems Inc. (PAY), the company behind the payment terminals that will be used for Isis. Bergeron revealed that Isis will be unveiled in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah. The specific launch date, however, remains to be known.
Isis essentially lets consumers use their mobile phones as virtual wallets, using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC-enabled phones are expected to make the service more secure, as it enables carrier to wipe information from a phone in case the device is stolen. Current mobile wallets that do not use NFC technology do not offer this advantage. At present, however, there are only several NFC-enabled phones available in the market. Thus, this joint venture encourages carriers to market these phones to promote Isis. T-Mobile, for instance, has four NFC-enabled phones in its lineup, but more are reportedly on the way.
The companies behind Isis initially planned to have the carriers take care of the transactions, but eventually, they decided to allow credit card companies to do so.
Isis takes advantage of the growing number of mobile payments. These transactions, in fact, are believed to reach over $1.3 trillion by the year 2017. Among the competitors of Isis today are Google Inc. and EBay Inc. which both have their own mobile payment systems.
In contrast with Google, however, Isis has the support of carriers, which could enable the service to be more popular among consumers.