[AfrICANN-discuss] M-Pesa making babies

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Aug 20 16:50:11 SAST 2010

 Report: Pilot cities named for US m-payments project
Published: Tuesday 10 August 2010
Region: USA & Canada<http://www.mobilebusinessbriefing.com/search/?region=USA%20&%20Canada>
Tags: AT&T <http://www.mobilebusinessbriefing.com/search/?keywords=AT%26T>
USA <http://www.mobilebusinessbriefing.com/search/?keywords=T-Mobile+USA>

The new US mobile payments initiative being led by AT&T, Verizon Wireless
and T-Mobile is to launch pilot services in major cities in Texas, Minnesota
and Utah next year, according to sources at *Bloomberg*. The project –
currently codenamed 'Mercury' – will begin pilots in Austin, Minneapolis and
Salt Lake City in the middle of next year. Atlanta is thought to be the
fourth city earmarked for launch. Consumers participating in the pilots will
be able to pay at a merchant with the contactless wave of a smartphone
equipped with a radio microchip that communicates with a reader at checkout.
The move is seen as the US operator community’s biggest effort to date to
kick-start mobile payments, and a major threat to Visa and MasterCard, the
world’s two largest payment networks.

The Mercury project has yet to be officially confirmed by any of the parties
involved, though AT&T and Verizon Wireless are understood to be equal
partners in the venture, with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA owning a
smaller stake. The three operators are reportedly now searching for a CEO to
lead the initiative. Barclays and US credit card firm Discover are also
thought to be on board to process the payments made using the scheme. The
smartphones used in the pilots are expected to use embedded NFC technology
to facilitate contactless payments, though there has been no word to date on
who will make these devices. Read today’s blog on the story
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