Are Mobile Payments just a Bilateral Game?
With the recent news that T-Mobile has withdrawn from the Dutch NFC Payments Consortium and that Verizon has blocked Google Wallet on the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone, are we beginning to see the MNOs asserting themselves in the mobile commerce market? I have previously blogged on the mobile wallet wars and here we have the mobile players taking the high ground, at least for the moment, against both the financial market (the Dutch Consortium comprises all the countries’ major banks) and the OTT players (Google). It’s all part of the shake-out to be expected in such a fundamental convergence of industries such as telecoms and finance. While Verizon blocking Google is understandable (especially as Verizon is a part of the Isis telecoms and banking consortium) T-Mobile’s move shows us that it’s not that simple. T-Mobile has withdrawn from the Dutch consortium pointing to the lack of NFC-enabled retail infrastructure to make the business case work. That’s the other player often missed in this debate (after the chicken-and-egg problem of NFC-enabled handsets) – the retail industry. What will make the retail market move to NFC payments as a mass market? In Juniper’s view it won’t be the telecoms or financial industries’ initiatives – it will be driven by the “end-point”, the retailer. A retailer wants to see more than just NFC payments, he wants to see customers in his store first – and that’s where we believe mobile coupons (whether they use NFC, bar codes or text messages) come in, as the catalyst of the mobile payments market.