Telecommunications, Automotive and Market Research

More than 15 years in the mobile telecommunications industry and an industry analyst since 1998.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Google Wallet Looking More and More Like a Wallet

Ever since the first report I wrote about mobile wallets in 2006, I had identified as the key obstacle competition among the players, especially competition based on the technology.

In Japan, all the mobile operators unified under a single trade name (osaifu-keitai, or wallet phone), even thought it was originated by one of the major mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo. All three operators also adopted the same technology, the near-field communication variant called FeliCa

In the US, heavy competition and a hands-off approach by regulatory bodies had caused many delays or the death of some new, interesting technologies (remember AM Stereo? I didn't think so).
These will be getting thinner and thinner

However, an announcement last week shows that there's more cooperation than competition among the key players for mobile wallet (and ultimately, mobile payments): VISA and Google have agreed to put VISA's PayWave technology and brand name in Google Wallet phones

PayWave cards and dongles are already offered through a number of issuing banks including BarclayCard, BB&T, Chase, PNC, Wells Fargo and others. 

Hey, prospects for mobile wallet are getting better, aren't they?
You bet they are. The things I believe are going to be required to push the entire market forward are the open wallet concept, rather than the closed system initially proposed - and abandoned - by Isis. For the ultimate success, mobile wallet is going to have to replace everything you now keep in your leather wallet: ID, gym membership, loyalty cards, all your credit and debit cards, library card, pictures of the kids and all the other things. And only after ALL those things are possible will the mobile payments component of the mobile wallet be ready for its inevitable success. 

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