Dutch abandon M-wallet JV

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In MPW 153 we reported that ABN AMRO, ING, KPN, Rabobank, T-Mobile and Vodafone signed a letter of intent to jointly introduce mobile payments at the checkout in the Netherlands. Today we report that the Dutch banks and mobile operators have disbanded their joint venture, which planned to offer a national mobile wallet service starting next year.

KPN and Vodafone, together with banks ABN Amro, ING, and Rabobank, announced that their “Sixpack” consortium has decided to stop any further development of their NFC-based m-wallet service. The project was proving “too costly and taking too long” to implement.

The JV, which had already slipped the launch date for its m-wallet service from this year into 2013, also blamed the legal and competition issues surrounding the Sixpack JV. “It was far more complex than we originally thought it would be,” Rabobank’s Wim Westerhof, program director for the Sixpack project says.

The operators and banks first announced plans to form an m-wallet JV, in conjunction with T-Mobile, in September 2010. T-Mobile then left the JV in December 2011, claiming it would develop its own m-wallet strategy.

However, Westerhof claims those involved in Sixpack will still work together, “but we won’t need a joint venture.”

The Rabobank exec said he believes that the m-wallet market has moved on and that the Sixpack partners can now collaborate on ways of achieving their original objective without encountering regulatory hurdles.

The latest idea could mimic the Cityzi NFC service being deployed in France, where each mobile operator is able to appoint its own trusted service manager (TSM), instead of having a single TSM that is owned and operated by the JV.

However, Westerhof says the group has yet to decide on a future direction. “Bringing together a project like this is very complicated.,” he said. “It is heavy. It is complex.”