Isis gets NFC capability as US nationwide rollout unveiled

1 August 2013

The Isis mobile network operator (MNO) m-commerce joint venture set up by Verizon, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA says it will launch its near field communication NFC-based wallet across the US by year-end as a nationwide US rollout is finally planned. The JV is also boldly predicting it’ll work with Apple’s iPhone - NFC capability is something Apple’s iPhone 5 launch famously lacked.

The mobile m-wallet from Isis has been talked about for years and has been certified, piloted, and used for a while now without really achieving the lift-off expected by it and the rival Google Wallet. It is hoped the addition of NFC technology by year end could give it lift-off. The third major US m-commerce digital wallet player, the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which is a JV formed by more than a dozen retailers including Walmart and Target, will no doubt be watching closely too.

Consumers can pay, redeem coupons and use loyalty cards with the Isis NFC-enabled mobile wallet. Up until now the service has been restricted to the pilot area in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah, but after well over a year of testing it is now going nationwide.

Commenting on the nationwide rollout, Michael Abbott, chief executive officer (CEO) of Isis, said: "We have proven the power of an open platform, creating an ecosystem of literally hundreds of partners dedicated to making mobile commerce a reality."

Abbott also pointed to some of the findings of the pilots in Texas and Utah, which he believes provide useful data for the nationwide US rollout:

• Active Isis mobile wallet users follow an average of seven brands and two thirds opted-in to get offers and messages from them.
• The mobile wallet pilot users tapped their smartphones against NFC readers more than 10 times a month, with more than 80% of transactions taking place at quick-service establishments such as coffee shops, fuel stations, convenience and grocery shops.
• Contactless NFC technology at the Point-of-Sale (PoS) is now accepted at more than 4,000 retailers in Austin and Salt Lake City, providing a good platform for the pilot to go fully operational in the future.

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