mpass: German mobile network operators launch NFC payments joint venture
Posted by Seth PlanckAugust 16th, 2011 at 4:11 PM Filed Under Latest News, Press Release, Soap Box
mpass: German mobile network operators launch NFC payments joint venture
Telefónica Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have announced a joint venture under the brand mpass that will bring NFC payments to Germany in early 2012 using NFC stickers and then transition to NFC phones.
Another day, another European country announces a mobile network operator NFC payments joint venture – this time it’s called mpass and has been announced for Germany. Again, Vodafone, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom (The Three Musketeers) have come together as they have with all other European joint ventures for NFC payments in Germany. Same old gang, same old mission – to control and own NFC payments in another European market and prevent rivals from entering the market. The three companies have signed a letter of understanding to combine their networks to form mpass, which will facilitate and act as a trusted service manager for all three networks. We are starting to wonder if we shouldn’t just write up a quick post for each European country now that doesn’t have a “joint venture” announced and just change the dates, because at this point, it really isn’t all new joint ventures or collaborations, it is merely three companies’ efforts to control the European continent’s NFC payments.
The mpass service is due to go live in early 2012 and will initially work with NFC stickers and then later transition to NFC phones when they become more widely owned by German consumers. The use of NFC stickers is a newer approach that will allow mpass to get into the market sooner and then consolidate its position later with NFC phones.
mpass and European MNO joint venture concerns about NFC payments persist
Concerns over mobile network operators continue with these joint ventures and the worries are that the jv’s, like mpass, are creating closed markets aimed at keeping competitors out and stifling innovation. If left unchecked, it will soon be that if you want to do business in Europe you will have to go through one of these three MNOs and abide by their terms. Should you compete too closely with what they are doing, they will probably have the right to refuse you access. Consumers will have limited choices on which services they can use and bill disputes could end up in mobile service and data being cut leaving consumers with no way to pay for goods and services. If, like the UK joint venture, the German mpass will likely use a SIM based system and SWP or single-wire protocol and will control consumers’ financial information and access to services through this method. SWP would not be the case with the NFC stickers but would allow German consumers to get used to using the system.
The members of European MNO joint ventures are not being very open about their plans and, in fact, a representative from Orange refused to comment when asked if services, such as Google Wallet, would be allowed to run over their network, at the GSMA Mobile Money webinar last week. For consumers’ rights, finances and privacy to be protected, it would appear that regulators need to look at all telco joint ventures. On the subject of whether the MNOs have the right to not allow consumers to use certain services over their networks becomes a net neutrality issue and should be looked at by anti-competitive offices from within various European governments. It doesn’t just end with mpass if even just in Europe though because Vodafone owns a major stake in Verizon in the US and Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile USA and the Isis joint venture is doing the exact same thing. Our question is – should a few companies have this power globally, and should they be able to control network data over phones that consumers own using mobile OS’ that other companies own? The consumers will decide. The full mpass press release is below if you’d like to learn more.
mpass: Telefónica Germany, Telekom and Vodafone plan mobile payment company
MÜNCHEN/BONN/DÜSSELDORF. Telefónica Germany, Telekom and Vodafone are pushing ahead with their joint activities in mobile payments. The three telecommunications providers intend to register their payment service mpass as own company, and have signed a letter of understanding to this effect. The new company is due to begin operating as early as this year.
More and more mpass customers are taking advantage of convenient and secure payment via mobile or stationary internet from a mobile phone. Once the mobile payment scheme mpass is up and running, the three telecommunications providers plan to expand on their position in mobile payment. mpass The new company will concentrate on stepping up mpass distribution and marketing activities, as well as developing new products. Aided by new technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), users will soon be able to make simple, secure and wireless payments in high-street shops, too.
’Payment by mobile phone will increasingly feature in our daily lives,’ says Michiel van Eldik, Managing Director of Wholesale & Partner Management at Telefónica Germany. ‘It has actually been possible for several years. And the first NFC smartphones, with full functionality for all aspects of mpass credit and bonus cards, are already in the stores. I think that even as early as next year, consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home and paying by mobile phone instead.’
‘Queues at supermarket checkouts will soon be a thing of the past,’ says Christian Illek, Director of Marketing at Telekom Deutschland, adding: ‘mpass will make mobile payment easier, faster and more secure than with conventional payment means. Within the mpass partnership we are not only applying the specific benefits of mobile mpass phones in the payment market, but, more importantly, we are bundling our customer reach with that of our partners.’
Dr. Peter Walz, Member of the Management Board and mpass Director of Wholesale & Strategy at Vodafone Deutschland: ‘For many years now we have offered an interoperable payment product across all networks with payments via the phone bill. This is now being continued in the shared mpass activities. Retailers want mpass standardised solutions and that is what we are giving them with mpass.’
mpass is the mobile payment service of Telefónica Germany, Telekom and Vodafone. The service mpass enable s secure mobile and soon contactless payment for mobile phone users of all Germany’s networks. What is especially interesting is that sensitive mpass customer data such as bank details are not sent to the trader as part of the purchase process. The payment order can only be authorised from the buyer’s mobile phone.
Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG and its brands O2 and Alice belong to Telefónica Europe and are part of the Spanish telecommunication group Telefónica S.A. The Company offers its German private and business customers postpaid and prepaid mobile telecom products as well as innovative mobile mpass data services based on the GPRS and UMTS technologies. In addition, the integrated communications provider also offers DSL fixed network telephony and high-speed internet. According to a network test by “connect” magazine (edition 12/10), the O2 network is top of the list when it comes to reliable file downloads and champion in the telephony category. In the overall result the company is on second position. Telefónica Europe has more than 57 million mobile and fixed network customers in Great Britain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.
Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG
Albert Fetsch, Head of External Communications
t +49 (0)89 2442-1220
f +49 (0)89 2442-1209
With around 128 million mobile customers and around 35 million fixed network, as well as almost 17 million broadband connections, Deutsche Telekom is one of the leading integrated telecommunications companies in the world (as of 30 June 2011). The Group offers products and services in the areas of the fixed network, mobile network, internet and IPTV for residential customers as well as ICT solutions for key accounts and business customers. Deutsche Telekom is represented in around 50 countries and has some 244,000 employees worldwide. In the fiscal year 2010 the Group generated turnover of 62.4 billion euros, over half of it outside Germany (as of 31 December 2010).
Deutsche Telekom AG
Dirk Wende, Press Spokesman
t +49 (0) 228 181-94914
f +49 (0) 39 1580244866
With 12,000 employees and around nine billion Euros in turnover, Vodafone Germany is one of the largest and most modern telecommunications providers in Europe. As an innovative and integrated technology and services group headquartered in Düsseldorf, Vodafone Germany stands for communication from a single source: mobile and fixed network as well as internet and broadband data services for business and residential customers. Continuous developments, numerous patents as well as investments in new products, services and the modern network have made Vodafone an innovation leader in the German telecommunications market. In 2010 Vodafone, for the fourth time in a row, was once again honoured by trade magazine ‘connect’ for having the best network in Germany.
Vodafone accepts its social responsibility. As a socio-political think tank, the Vodafone Foundation Germany initiates and promotes numerous projects in the areas of education, integration and social mobility. The company is part of the Vodafone Group. For more information see www.vodafone-deutschland.de.
Vodafone D2 GmbH
Thorsten Höpken, Press Spokesman
Am Seestern 1
t +49 (0) 211 533-5597
f +49 (0) 211 533-5500
mpass NFC payments