Regulators with the European Commission, the legislative arm of the European Union, are determining whether to grant approval for a mobile commerce project from the United Kingdom. The project has been dubbed “Project Oscar” and is a joint venture amongst three of the UK’s largest telecommunications companies: Everything Everywhere, O2, and Vodafone U.K. The project seeks to promote mobile commerce through the spreading of NFC technology and mobile devices. The companies also want to build a system that would store the financial information of consumers so that this information is not stored on a mobile device.
The Commission is examining the matter very closely in order to ensure that the benefits consumers will get are legitimate. The project has been met with opposition from 3UK, another British telecommunications company. The company claims that the three mobile companies behind the project account for over 90% of mobile subscribers in the UK. 3UK has asserted that the project is, therefore, discriminatory to other businesses. Spurred by this complaint, Commission regulators will be viewing the project with more scrutiny.
Regulators will determine whether to grant approval to the project or not by April 9 this year. If approval is granted, the project could be ready for launch as early as summer. This would be the largest mobile commerce project to come to Europe thus far, which has many countries and businesses on edge, eager to see whether NFC technology can live up to their expectations.