Swedish players band together in m-payments move

Sweden’s mobile operators are the latest carriers to band together and form a mobile payments joint venture. Investment amounts have not been revealed, but Telia, Tele2, Telenor and 3 will each own 25 per cent of the new operation.

There are no details yet on the payment system to be used, although it should be noted that Telia already has an m-payments platform in place supplied by Accumulate—which supports person to person and person to machine payments.

It also remains to be seen how Hutchison-owned 3’s Swedish strategy sits with the rest of the group. In the UK, 3 is taking a complaint against rivals O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere to antitrust authorities after the three operators proposed an m-commerce joint venture not involving 3 UK.

Last week, when spoke to Stephen Lerner, regulatory director of 3 UK, he called the UK initiative: “A cosy collaboration that would control nearly all mobile wallets in the UK and control and sell advertisers and card issuers’ access to its mobile subscribers. This is anti-competitive and akin to a joint selling arrangement which creates a monopoly in several markets, including mobile push advertising and mobile payments, and should not be approved under any circumstances.”

“It threatens to shunt the future of m-commerce onto the wrong track from the start. If allowed to proceed, the JV will damage the prospects of competition in the UK mobile market and the interests of UK mobile consumers,” Lerner said.

We have contacted 3 to get comment on the Swedish developments, and whether or not the Swedish venture constitutes a similarly anti-competitive move, but have yet to hear back.

In related news, m-payment provider PaymentOne has unveiled a mobile SDK with an Android One Click API embedded, allowing developers to monetise their Android apps.

“The toughest challenge any developer faces is how to make money from their apps,” said Brad Singer, executive vice president of PaymentOne. “Freemium is a great business model to engage consumers, and we enable developers to remove all friction at the point of purchase while maintaining a highly secure transaction. In a world where every connected device is ‘commerce ready,’ PaymentOne’s SDKs continue to optimize the payment process for the specific device, platform, media and user experience.”

The move to “remove friction from point of purchase” has resulted in a trend for developers to create initially free apps that rely on in app purchases of virtual items or the unlocking of new features. Carrier billing functionality also provided by PaymentOne is proving to take the sting out of transactions by removing the need for a credit card and instead billing the user’s mobile account.

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