EU gives Everything Everywhere, Telefónica and Vodafone go ahead on m-commerce venture

5 Sep 2012

The European Commission has approved the creation of a mobile commerce joint venture between Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile), Telefónica and Vodafone in the UK.

The commission’s preliminary investigation raised competition concerns over potential activities in the mobile wallet space.

Following an in-depth investigation, the commission has concluded that the joint venture will not impede competition in the European Economic Area.

The joint venture centres on the use of SIM cards within smartphones to store sensitive data like bank account numbers, access to which will be controlled by the mobile operators.

In terms of the joint venture’s advertising and data analytics activities, the market investigation revealed there will be various other players who have access to a comparable set of data and who will offer services in competition with the joint venture.

The newly created joint venture would provide various mobile commerce services to businesses, including mobile payment transaction services, mobile marketing services, and associated data analytics services.

The new consumer buying experience

“Mobile commerce is a nascent sector that may radically change the consumer buying experience in the next few years,” said Joaquín Almunia, commission vice-president in charge of competition policy.

“The proposed joint venture is one of several initiatives to develop the sector in Europe.

“The commission is keen on promoting innovation in this area and ensuring that the markets remain open so that a number of competing solutions can emerge without undue obstacles, to the benefit of consumers,” Almunia said.

Mobile wallet image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years