European Commission to investigate mobile operators' joint mobile wallet plan
The future of money, it seems, is mobile wallets - those near-field communication (NFC) devices that enable you to swipe your phone for payment. Google and Barclays are already on it, and now, there's a joint venture from Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and O2 joining the market.
However, the European Commission (EC) isn't happy about the latter and is launching an in-depth anti-trust investigation.
“The Commission is in favour of any initiative that will develop the promising mobile commerce sector in Europe and bring new and innovative payment and interactive advertising experience to consumers,” said Joaquín Almunia, EC vice president of competition policy.
“At the same time, we need to make sure that competing services can keep emerging on this market, so that incentives to innovate remain and customers get the best mobile commerce services at the best cost."
The Commission's initial findings showed that the combined mobile operators' market strength may allow them to block competitors from offering their own mobile wallet services in the UK. Obviously, that isn't on. As such, it will undertake a full investigation to see whether the venture will be allowed to proceed.
The three firms said in a joint statement: "We remain confident that an extended review will conclude that the proposed joint venture is pro-competitive and will provide robust competition to global players."