UK Joint Venture Plan of Operators Put on Hold
A mobile wallet joint venture plan created by two major telecom operators UK’s Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and Telefonica have at last submitted their proposal to the Europe Union, but according to the sources, it is considered that 3UK has labelled the project as “discriminatory” and has put it into cold storage by raising objections to the venture. According to the recent reports in the Financial Times and The Guardian, objections made by the 3UK have simply caused delay in the creation of the joint venture by a number of months after the decision was not taken in the favour of UK’s smallest operators to include in the joint venture. Now it depends on the European Commission as it has 25 days to give its approval, to the proposal, ask for amendments or simply extend its investigations.
The joint venture of all the three partners Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Vodafone and Telefonica has been condemned ” Project Oscar” and will be managed as an independent division which will easily be accessed by all, on the other hand 3UK regards it as anti-competitive. According to the report, regulatory affairs director at 3UK stated that over 90 per cent of UK mobile subscribers and their data will be controlled by the joint venture. This will allow the three partners to foreclose the market to third-parties and easily avoid the inconvenience of competing against each other.
Since the operators would require to enable their mobile subscribers to get products and services through their Smart phones either online or by using Near Field Communications (NFC), it is considered that the Project Oscar is much better than the mobile wallet joint venture created by of operators in Europe and elsewhere. As for example, mPass venture created by operators in Germany and some other joint ventures created by operators in the Netherlands, whereas the operators in Denmark, Hungary and French have already been operating the commercial citizen network in Nice.
The director of Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, Tony Moretta, revealed that the UK joint venture would not only focus on mobile wallet services and NFC but also planning to launch complementary services like mobile marketing, advertising and other types of online payment services. According to him, the UK joint venture would start contactless based payment services based on NFC technology later in the year 2012. As there is tough competition the UK joint venture already facing from the banks and other mobile money solutions from Google, the regulatory delays have also affected the launch. However, the three partners of the Project Oscar have also tried to convince the regulatory authority that the joint venture of mobile wallet services would absolutely benefit the entire UK market.
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