Weve, owned by Vodafone, EE and O2, abandoned its proposed mobile wallet offering after Apple announced its own mobile payments service.
The joint venture between Vodafone, EE and O2 via Weve was intended to make it easier for banks and retailers to interact with the operators. In return, the three companies would incentivise mobile payments by pre-loading apps and implementing loyalty schemes. The joint venture would take a small cut of purchases in a mobile payments market that the Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts will be worth £14.2bn in 2018.
Vodafone, EE, and O2 were unable to agree on how the Weve standard mobile wallet should function. Last week’s announcement by Apple leaves mobile operators scrambling to establish themselves in the mobile payments market, and the three companies have made the decision to focus on promoting their own mobile payments solutions.
EE launched its own wave and pay app this summer, Cash on Tap, Vodafone will introduce a similar service next month and O2’s parent company, Telefonica, is working with Monitise on mobile payments technology.
“Operating system owners and big handset manufacturers now have the real power in the mobile world – consumers are reliant on them not mobile operators,” Tony Moretta, a founding executive of Weve who worked on its mobile payments plans until his departure in January, stated on Twitter.
“Apple can deliver a consistent user experience for payment on iPhones – mobile operators were not prepared to and wanted to compete with each other,” he added.
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