None of the US wireless firms entering into an alleged partnership to run a contactless mobile payments venture were willing to comment on “rumour or speculation” in the press.
According to a Bloomberg report, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have teamed up to test mobile contactless technology at shops in Atlanta and three other cities in the US. It is also expected they will use Discover Financial Services to process payments and Barclays to manage accounts.
AT&T declined to comment and Jeffrey Nelson, who works in media relations at Verizon told EPI that he refused to comment on “rumour and speculation”, a phrase echoed by a spokesperson at T-Mobile.
“T-Mobile does not comment on rumour or speculation. We’re always developing new, exciting and convenient features to offer our customers, and mobile payment has flourished in other areas around the globe. But we have nothing to announce at this time.”
Three people with knowledge of the plan, who were cited as Bloomberg’s source, revealed AT&T and Verizon Wireless have equal stakes in the project, with T-Mobile USA holding a smaller share.
Commenting on the mobile contactless plans, financial analysts at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, Sanjay Sakhrani and Steven Kwok, have voiced concerns over costs and security issues that may deter merchants and consumers from getting on board.
“We think there are many hurdles before one can make the assumption that this is a game-changer,” said Sakhrani and Kwok.
“We need more information to get a better sense on whether or not this venture has the potential to do anything meaningful in the near-term at least to disintermediate MasterCard and Visa.”