EU to investigate mobile wallet scheme
EU regulators are looking into competition concerns surrounding a joint venture in mobile payments by Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2.
The UK's biggest cellular operators said in June that they were creating a clearing house for mobile payments, which would act as an intermediary between advertisers, banks and retailers. However, Three complained to the European Commission that it had been shut out of the deal.
Although the commission did not cite Three's complaint, it did say in its announcement of the investigation late on Friday that there are "potential competition concerns in the nascent markets of mobile payment applications supply, mobile advertising and related data analytics services, where the joint venture may have very high market shares."
"The Commission is in favour of any initiative that will develop the promising mobile commerce sector in Europe and bring new and innovative payment and interactive advertising experience to consumers," competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement. "At the same time, we need to make sure that competing services can keep emerging on this market, so that incentives to innovate remain and customers get the best mobile commerce services at the best cost."
Many companies are pushing the development of mobile payments, either through the mobile Web or using near-field communication (NFC) technology to let customers tap their handsets against readers at the point of sale.