AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless today announced a joint venture, which will be called Isis and will be charged with building a national mobile commerce network.
Isis' initial focus will be on building a network that uses mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases. The venture will use smartphone and near-field communication (NFC) technology to modernize the payments process, introducing the service in key geographic markets during the next 18 months.
Michael Abbott has been named as CEO of Isis. Formerly with GE Capital, Abbott is a veteran financial services executive with experience in the payment and technology industries.
"While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes," Abbott said.
Founding members AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless will collectively provide wireless services to more than 200 million consumers who will have access to the Isis service. Isis is working with Discover Financial Services' payment network, currently accepted at more than 7 million merchant locations nationwide, to develop the mobile payment infrastructure.
Barclaycard US, part of Barclays PLC, is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products.
"We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis. In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover's national payment infrastructure as well as Barclaycard's expertise in contactless and mobile payments" Abbott said. "Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers."