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RealTime IT News

Operators Creating Wireless Payment Scheme

Two European wireless operators, Vodafone Group Plc and T-Mobile International AG said Thursday they were developing a mobile payment platform that they said should increase customer and merchant adoption of mobile transactions.

The platform would eventually enable wireless phones to pay for a wide variety of items both in stores and via m-commerce. The companies said that they platform would provide interoperability among wireless operators.

Initially, they said in a statement that the platform will be rolled out in Germany and the U.K., where the two companies are based. They said they hoped the platform would attract other wireless operators as well.

The scheme will use a virtual wallet in which basic customer information is kept. The companies said they hoped to launch the platform by the end of 2002. At the time of payment, they can choose which method of payment they wish to use, much as a customer would decide which credit card to pull from his or her regular wallet, the companies said.

In addition, the companies said they were exploring how to manage small charges. Possibilities include billing such small charges directly to the customer's bill for wireless services.

An open, interoperable platform for mobile payments will be a significant enabler of m-commerce, enhancing the array of content, services and commerce options available to customers," said Thomas Geitner, Vodafone's chief executive for global products and services.