Italian Telcos Working On A Common M-Payment Platform for Digital Goods

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Italian mobile operators are teaming up to develop a common mobile payment platform that allows consumers to purchase digital goods by charging their mobile phone accounts.

Telecom Italia’s (TI) mobile arm TIM, Vodafone (VOD), Wind SpA, 3 Italia, PosteMobile and Fastweb will provide digital content providers and their customers with a shared standard that converts mobile phone numbers into client authentication keys and transforms the mobile phone into a tool for paying for online digital content and services.

“The joint launch of this initiative opens the door to m-commerce for all. A secure and open system based on a device in extremely widespread use,” the companies said in a joint statement.

At this point the proposed platform is for digital goods only, making it possible for the MNOs to carry it out without the direct involvement of banks. But as MNOs become more experienced with mobile payments and billing, it is natural to expect that they will use the knowledge learned in the process and even expand the platform itself to include purchases at POS in stores. At that point, however, they will no longer be able to execute without merchant acquirers.

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