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Weve has been busy, but is not launching m-payments just yet

Friday 2 January 2015 | 11:48 CET | Background

Weve looks likely to miss the previously set target of launching mobile payments early in 2015. The m-payment app went into limited testing in April last year, but has not surfaced. The joint-venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone was established in 2012 with the ambition to become the leading m-commerce and m-payment platform in the UK. The m-payment app has been cancelled, the Telegraph reported in September.

Weve looks likely to miss the previously set target of launching mobile payments early in 2015. The m-payment app went into limited testing in April last year, but has not surfaced. The joint-venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone was established in 2012 with the ambition to become the leading m-commerce and m-payment platform in the UK.

Weve is developing a set of m-commerce services that will go full circle on data analytics, mobile marketing, coupons and special offers for retailers. The data gathered from coupons and transactions will feed back into marketing and promotions.

Weve promises a number of mobile marketing services, including targeted messaging, video messaging, location-based messaging and app discovery for brands that want to direct visitors to a certain app.

Weve has announced several advertising deals, including work for Microsoft, and is up and running, as one of many agencies in London, but has yet to launch in full.

In April 2014, then CEO David Sears said services would be launched in early 2015. News is scarce, as Weve has since removed its company blog and news section. The message "©Weve Limited 2013" on the website is outdated. Interim CEO Tim Hipperson has not made any announcements yet.

In May, the mobile marketing and financial services company announced revenues of GBP 13 million in 2013 from its mobile messaging product. The company has also reported a loss of GBP 25 million, and has invested around GBP 38 million in building its platform.

Wallet in test since 2014

Early in 2014, the NFC mobile wallet app, dubbed Pouch, went in very limited testing, with help from Visa and mobile wallet supplier Proxama. The Wallet however, is not available yet.

Weve, has dropped plans for a standard mobile wallet service planned to be launched in early 2015, The Telegraph reported in September. The operators are understood to have been unable to agree on how the NFC mobile wallet would operate and have chosen to release individual apps instead. If this holds true, it would not the first time that a joint-venture stumbles over the issue of ‘who owns the customer’. 

Not having a central app complicates the process of gathering data analytics and using it for advertising. Another barrier is the fact that all these services require a specific opt-in from mobile users.

Rethinking privacy and technology

The company believes it can gather the opt-ins in sufficient numbers, but general concern about online privacy has grown the past year, certainly in comparison to 2011, when Project Oscar, as it was known then, was hatched.

Another setback is the technology shift in NFC mobile payments that has taken place. Apple has launched a proprietary NFC solution in September, in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that are selling briskly. Apple has said it is working to launch Apple Pay outside the US and market dynamics make it a fair bet that the UK will be one of the first markets where it will be launched.

Apple Pay is not a SIM based solution, rather a direct implementation in association with card networks. While Apple Pay cuts the mobile operators out of the loop, Android appears to be doing the same. Android KitKat and Lollipop devices steer the NFC applications towards an HCE cloud solution, not to a Secure Element living in the SIM Card.

These shifts in technology mean further delays in an ecosystem that has never had an easy time, but could also spell the end of the operators’ plans in their present form.



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