One of the most anticipated events in the world of UK marketing in 2012 is the planned launch of the mobile wallet. The joint venture between the three biggest mobile operators O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere, known as Project Oscar, was planned to kick off in the summer but it might have to wait.
According to an official statement this morning, the European Commission (EC) is starting an investigation into Project Oscar after concerns were raised over the fact that the three telecos could block other companies willing to make a presence on the mobile wallet market. The EC has 90 working days to look into potential competition issues and to decide whether Project Oscar could be given the green light.
Joaqun Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, states that while the EC would support initiatives aimed at promoting European m-commerce and introducing new platforms for consumers, it will not allow anti-trust agreements of any kind to interfere with the market, making sure that consumers have access to the best possible service at the best possible price.
Project Oscar is expected to allow UK consumers to buy goods and products via Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology, using their phones. It will provide a fully integrated mobile payment system that will be available to everyone in a wide range of shops, while also offering a number of m-commerce services to businesses.