BODY> Virtual wallet fom Vodafone, T-Mobile

Krishnan Thiagarajan

Consumers will chose their personal details and preferred payment options such as debit or credit cards or bank accounts and store them in a virtual wallet, which will be maintained on a mobile phone.

HANNOVER, March 17

IN a major step forward in the European m-commerce arena, Europe's two largest mobile operators, Vodafone Group Plc of UK and T-Mobile International Inc of Germany, have joined hands in the creation of a mobile payment platform.

Mr Philipp Schindera, Corporate Communications, T-Mobile International Inc (one of Duetsche Telecom's four strategic divisions), told Business Line, ``this initiative is unique because it is the first of its kind between two European mobile operators.'' This is being planned as an open platform to be launched by the end of the year with an initial roll-out in Germany and UK, the two key markets of these mobile operators.

As an open platform, these two operators hope that other operators will join them in launching the platform. The goal of this initiative is to make the mobile phone as easy to use as a conventional wallet. The payment platform will be used to create a secure and easy-to-use payment solution for purchase of goods and services via a mobile phone.

To put it in simple terms, consumers will chose their personal details and preferred payment options such as debit or credit cards or bank accounts and store them in a virtual wallet, which will be maintained on a mobile phone.

At the time of the transaction, the subscriber (as a consumer) has to decide which payment option (credit card or bank account) they would like to apply for a transaction (say purchase of a newspaper), just like in a regular payment using a conventional wallet.

By pressing say, the credit card button (if that is the choice) on the mobile phone, the transaction will be completed. As part of this scheme, these two operators are planning to make available multiple payment options, including micro payment mechanisms to any participating merchant of this scheme.

This initiative is to be executed by Encorus Technologies, onwed by eOne Global using its PaymentWorks software with the payment expertise of First Data Corp, the world's largest payment processor.

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