Telefonica O2, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone plan mobile payments company

The three largest German telecom operators, Telefónica O2, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, plan to enter a joint venture to register their payment service mpass as its own company and have signed a letter of understanding, according to the companies. The new company is due to begin operating as early as this year.

According to Telefónica O2, the mobile payment company will concentrate on increasing distribution and marketing activities, as well as developing new mobile payments products. Aided by new technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and connections by touch, users will soon be able to make simple, secure and wireless payments in high-street shops, says the company.

"Payment by mobile phone will increasingly feature in our daily lives," says Michiel van Eldik, managing director of Wholesale & Partner Management at Telefónica Germany. "It has actually been possible for several years. And the first NFC smartphones, with full functionality for all aspects of credit and bonus cards, are already in the stores. I think that even as early as next year, consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home and paying by mobile phone instead."

mpass is the mobile payment service of Telefónica Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone. The service enables secure mobile and soon contactless payment for mobile phone users of all Germany's networks, according to Telefónica O2. Sensitive customer data such as bank details are not sent to the trader as part of the purchase process, and according to the company the payment order can only be authorized from the buyer's mobile phone.

"Queues at supermarket checkouts will soon be a thing of the past," says Christian Illek, Director of Marketing at Telekom Deutschland.

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