The launch of Isis, the mobile wallet joint venture between US mobile operators AT&T,Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, has been delayed again, as the mobile payments services continue to stutter, reports StrategyEye. Isis’ marketing head, Jaymee Johnson, tells Reuters that the service is now set to roll out in its first two markets, Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas, in October. It is the second delay this year, following an original launch date during the first half of 2012, then a September target. The hold-up comes amid the backdrop of a US mobile payments market that is struggling to live up to the hype to date, with mobile-based transactions across all formats and standards still making up a fraction of the total payments space.
Johnson attributes the delay to final preparations for the launch, but is optimistic on Isis’ prospects in the US, claiming that it will benefit “thousands” of merchants upon its launch, before expanding beyond its launch cities in 2013. He adds that the delay does not affect any of Isis’ partnerships already in place. Isis CMO, Ryan Hughes, echoes Johnson’s comments, telling CNET: “Our focus has been on making sure when we launch we do it properly and do it right. The task we undertook was a fairly complex one but we're not experiencing any major issues."
Despite much fanfare, m-payments are yet to take off in the way expected. Some believe consumer education is the largest barrier to adoption currently, with a number of mobile payment formats on offer, from plug-in card readers to contactless, NFC-based services such as Google Wallet. Speaking to StrategyEye last week, the CEO of the newly established US Mobile Payments Committee, Jason Oxman, says that the industry needs to work to educate both consumers and merchants on the benefits of mobile payments, rather than worrying which format will become the standard.