Wireless Carriers Losing Isis m-Commerce Network in Favor of Simpler Mobile Payment Solutions

Major US wireless carriers, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA, seem to be pulling the plug on their jointly proposed Isis nationwide mobile commerce network.

Rather than moving full-steam ahead on smartphone-enabled point-of-sale transactions, simpler mobile payment solutions in line with the so-called “mobile wallet” framework now appears to be the widely embraced mechanism by which the consumer shopping experience will be revolutionized.

Initially, Isis was formed to establish its own payments network, which would be profitable – in theory – by collecting fees on transactions. Mobile customers would have payment accounts through their wireless carrier, instead of a credit card company.

According to the Wall Street Journal, plans for Isis have been dramatically altered.

Now, the group has adopted the less ambitious goal of setting up a “mobile wallet” that can store and exchange the account information on a users’ existing Visa, MasterCard or other card, people familiar with the matter said. The carriers are scrambling to find other ways to make money from the transactions. To get as many users as possible, the carriers are now in talks with Visa and MasterCard to have them participate in the system they will embed in phones.

Setting up a separate network would have been too difficult and time consuming, sources told the WSJ.

Drew Sievers, cofounder and chief executive of mFoundry, a leading provider of mobile banking technology, tells the WSJ that the wireless carriers ultimately have little choice but to “include MasterCard and Visa. Not including the 800 pound gorillas of the industry will make it very hard to succeed.”

To read the full report, click here.