Finally, the Wraps are Taken Off Isis, the Wireless Operators’ Payments Network

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Let the games of the NFC Olympiad begin.

At least we now know the name of the formerly mysterious major player entering the field. Isis is the name of the joint venture payments network assembled by US mobile giants AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA. We also know who is running the Isis operation, Michael Abbott who comes from GE Capital’s payments business.

Mercator estimates there will be 40 million NFC chips shipped into the North American market during 2011. That doesn’t mean all of those chips will be on the street in smartphones by the end of next year but it will be close. Now that NFC’s finally coming—and notice that it’s the handset manufacturers and the MNOs leading the charge with a new payment mechanism—the rate of change in the payments industry will definitely accelerate.

Isis, the growing base of NFC-enabled handsets, and the disruptive effects of this technology will be the source of big news in payments for the foreseeable future. In the payments acquiring world, there’s hardly an entity that won’t be affected. Every one of those 40 million NFC-equipped phones, out there within the next 18 months, is a potential payment acceptance device. That change alone will impact terminal and peripheral makers in a big way.

AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless today announced the formation of a joint venture chartered with building ISIS(TM), a national mobile commerce network that aims to fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save.

Isis’ initial focus will be on building a mobile payment network that utilizes mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases. By utilizing smartphone and near-field communication (NFC) technology to modernize the payments process, Isis intends to deliver new levels of competition and value to consumers and merchants. Isis expects to introduce its service in key geographic markets during the next 18 months.

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