Google Wallet, a new near-field communications (NFC) based payment system created by Google in partnership with MasterCard and a number of additional partners, is now available on Sprint’s Nexus S 4G. Google Nexus S users on AT&T and T-Mobile are left out in the cold for now. MasterCard confirmed that an over-the-air update is being pushed to the Nexus S 4G on Monday that will automatically install the Google Wallet app. Once it is installed, users can enter in their MasterCard information and use their Nexus S 4G to make tap-and-go payments at 300,000 PayPass locations around the world. Initial users will receive a $10 bonus on their Google Prepaid MasterCard accounts for being an early adopter, too. Google also announced on Monday that Visa, Discover and American Express have provided their NFC specifications so that those payment options can be added to Google Wallet in the future. Read on for a quick video of Google Wallet in action. More →
Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile have made a $100 million investment in ISIS, a joint venture created by the three carriers to fuel the growth of mobile payments. The investment has been largely viewed as an attempt to bolster ISIS’ business to better compete against Google and its own mobile payment system, Google Wallet. “Over the long haul, operators have to create new businesses that derive value from more than access,” wireless analyst Chetan Sharma told Bloomberg. “It’s a given that people are going to be transacting more over cell phones. It could open a potential new revenue stream for them.” Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T formed ISIS in November of last year and hope, by partnering, the carriers can launch a competitive nationwide mobile payment network that utilizes near-field communications. In June, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa announced a partnership with ISIS. MasterCard has also teamed up with Google and Sprint on Google Wallet. ISIS is currently being tested in Salt Lake City and Austin, and while the joint venture plans to bring those networks live in mid-2012, ISIS has not yet announced a national rollout plan. More →
Thanks to royalty payments from awards related to patent complaints against HTC, Microsoft is estimated to have made three times more revenue from sales of HTC’s Android phones than it did from sales of Windows Phone licenses last quarter. Asymco analyst Horace Dediu estimated this past May that Microsoft had made five times more money from HTC’s Android phones than its own Windows Phone platform through the first quarter of this year. In the second quarter, Dediu says Microsoft made approximately $21 million from 1.4 million Windows Phone licenses at $15 a piece, while the company’s $5-per-device royalty from sales of 12 million HTC Android phones brought in $60 million in the quarter. Dediu’s numbers are based on Canalys’ Windows Phone shipment estimates and the 12.1 million handsets HTC says it shipped in the second quarter, though we’re not sure how the analyst determined that 12 million of those devices were Android phones. HTC also sells phones that run Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and phones based on Qualcomm’s Brew MP platform. More →
Deutsche Bank analyst Kai Korschelt on Tuesday estimated that Nokia stands to make a pretty penny off of royalty payments from Apple moving forward. Nokia announced early on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with Apple regarding a series of patent disputes filed by each company over the past few years. Based on recent settlements tied to similar cases in the industry, Korschelt estimates that Apple will give Nokia a $608 million lump-sum payment up front. Following that initial payment, Apple will like pay Nokia a 1% royalty on all iPhones sold each quarter as a licensing fee. At Apple’s current pace — which has increased steadily rapidly since the iPhone first launched — that works out to approximately $138 million each quarter, or more than $550 million annually. More →
Verizon Wireless announced a new partnership with Payfone on Monday that will soon allow its customers using phones, tablets, and PCs to make online purchases easier. Once the partnership’s new service is deployed, customers will be able to make more secure purchases online and charge them to their Verizon Wireless bill or use other standard forms of payment. “Our relationship with Payfone complements the part of the mobile payments equation we’re already working on with our Isis joint venture,” said Greg Haller, marketing vice president, Verizon Wireless. “We approach the mobile payments arena from a customer’s perspective. As we move forward, the most important goals will be security, privacy and simplicity. Through our relationship with Payfone, we will be able to quickly offer value to our customers by offering them greater choice and a simple, safe and secure purchasing experience when shopping online from their smartphones, tablets and PCs.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
HP is working on phones and tablets with built-in near-field communication (NFC) technology for mobile payments, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Much like Google Wallet, which will soon launch for the Nexus S and eventually other Android devices, HP hopes its customers will be able to use the company’s products to make mobile purchases in retail outlets. Similarly, HP has a plan to create an entire ecosystem where users will be able to to receive coupons or other benefits, such as loyalty points, from NFC-enabled advertisements. While sources told Bloomberg the products could launch by year-end, HP hasn’t been known to deliver new mobile devices to the market very quickly in the past. It’s also still unclear who the company’s mobile payment partners will be. More →
Google may have just unveiled its preliminary plans to bring contactless mobile payments to the U.S., but mobile payments in using various technologies are prime to blow up in several other markets around the world as well. Swedish wireless analyst firm Berg Insight on Thursday issued a report on mobile money in emerging markets, and the group believes adoption will skyrocket over the next four years. In 2010 there were 133 million people in emerging markets who used their cell phones to move money or pay for goods and services. That number is set to grow an average of 40% each year to reach 709 million in 2015, the firm believes. Over that same period, the total value of mobile payment transactions will balloon from $25 billion in 2010 to $215 billion in 2015. “In developing regions such as Africa the mobile phone will become the primary digital channel for people to conduct financial services in the coming years,” said Telecom Analyst Lars Kurkinen. “Financial institutions are beginning to realize the importance of mobile phones to reach new clients viewing mobile money services as high-priority strategic projects. Also mobile operators and third party service providers are ramping up their efforts to target the huge unbanked populations in emerging markets.” Hit the break for Berg’s full release. More →
Google has been working on a mobile payment service for quite some time now, and the company is finally ready to take the wraps off of the first iteration of its contactless payment product. Google has been buying up talent — and someone spilled the beans this past Tuesday — so we can’t say the announcement is likely to come as much of a surprise. Yes, Google is expected to finally take the wraps off its Google Wallet service, which will use NFC-based technology to allow consumers to pay for goods with their cell phones. According to reports, Google’s preliminary pilot will launch in partnership with Sprint, utilizing the NFC-equipped Google Nexus S 4G, and it will be available in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. to start. Want to know more? So do we… and we’ll be reporting all the action as it unfolds right here in this post. Hit the break for our liveblog of Google’s press conference, which will start just before 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and don’t forget to refresh the page often for the latest updates! More →
Sources speaking with Bloomberg claim Google is finally ready to take the wraps off its mobile payment service. According to a new report, Google will host an event on Thursday, May 26th to introduce its new service, which will initially be available only to Sprint subscribers in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. who own the company’s Nexus S 4G smartphone. The system will be NFC-based, and Bloomberg did not specify which retail partners would support Google’s initial offering. Google has made a series of moves leading up to the imminent announcement this week, such as its recent acquisition of stealth Toronto-based start up Zetawire, which had filed a patent for “a payment system, an advertising system, and an identity management system” combined into a single product. While Google’s preliminary offering might not include unique technology such as Zetawire’s, it’s safe to say the Internet giant has a lot in store for us as it enters this emerging space. BGR has not independently confirmed that Google plans to introduce a new payment service, but we have received an invitation to a press event taking place on Thursday and we’ll be on hand to cover it live. More →
Earlier this month a company called Lodsys began sending letters to iOS app developers using Apple’s in-app billing system, asking each to license its technology separately. In a blog post on May 15th, Lodsys explained on its website that “the scope of [Apple’s] current licenses does NOT enable [Apple] to provide ‘pixie dust’ to bless another (third party) business applications.” On Monday Apple issued a response to Lodsys explaining that iOS developers are safe under its licensing program. “Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patents and the App Makers are protected by that license,” Bruce Sewell, Apple’s senior vice president and general counsel, said. “The technology that is targeted in your notice letters is technology that Apple is expressly licensed under the Lodsys patents to offer to Apple’s App Makers.” It sounds like developers that have received the notification letters can breathe easy knowing that Apple appears to be offering some support. Hit the jump for more from Sewell’s letter to Lodsys. More →
According to a Bernstein note issued on Monday morning, Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone will not include Near field communication (NFC) capabilities as had been previously rumored on several occasions. NFC, which will be featured in RIM’s 2011 BlackBerry smartphone lineup, allows cell phones and other devices to transmit data wirelessly over short distances. Unlike Bluetooth, NFC connections do not require a pairing process, so NFC is well suited for applications such as mobile payments, as it is currently being used in several markets around the world. In the U.S. at the moment, carriers, manufacturers, banks and other companies are all independently working on various solutions. Without better standards, it will be difficult for the technology to take off in the mass market. More →
Mobile payments collaborative Isis has announced its first trial market, Salt Lake City. The group, which is comprised of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, plans to bring its contactless payment system to the Utah merchants in “early to mid-2012.” Isis also announced a working agreement with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to enable Isis payments throughout the entire public transportation system. “By working with the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake Chamber and Salt Lake City-area merchants, Isis is bringing the mobile commerce vision to reality,” said the group’s CEO, Michael Abbott. “Salt Lake City consumers will experience a new way to shop, pay and save.” The announcement comes one day after a report suggested Sprint would develop its own mobile payment solution for future use. The full Isis press release is after the break. More →
According to Bloomberg, U.S. wireless provider Sprint is working on a mobile, touchless payment service based on NFC (Near Field Communications) technology. Sprint’s vice president of product platforms, Kevin McGinnis, told the publication that his company plans to make its touchless payment system “an open solution” that will work in a variety of physical locations. “Because we’re allowing other brands and other institutions to participate, they can also tell their consumers that this is available on Sprint,” McGinnis continued. The wireless company hopes to share in revenues generated by point-of-sales purchases, coupons, and other sales-related offerings delivered to user handsets. Gartner projects that 340 million mobile payment users from around the globe will be responsible for $245 billion worth of transactions by 2014.
U.S. carriers continue to jockey for position in an attempt to properly position themselves to ride the impending mobile payments tidal wave. Back in November of last year, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless announced a partnership — dubbed Isis — that will bring mobile payments to their customers. Should the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger go though, it could pit the forces of a united AT&T and Verizon Wireless against Sprint.
Sprint has yet to publicly comment on its mobile payment plans. More →