The joint venture among wireless companies has been extremely slow to get off the ground.
The Isis mobile payments digital wallet, a joint venture among wireless giants T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, has finally announced that it is ready to roll out its service nationwide, after having run long pilot programs in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas.
The pilot program for Isis has run over a massive period of nine months within those two cities.
According to the CEO of the mobile payments wallet venture, Michael Abbot, “Over the past nine months, we have proven the power of an open platform, creating an ecosystem of literally hundreds of partners dedicated to making mobile commerce a reality.” He added that “As part of our commitment to consumers, we are incorporating feedback from our pilots into the next generation of the Isis Mobile Wallet as we prepare for national availability later this year.”
The mobile payments service uses NFC technology to allow people to use their smartphones for transactions.
Isis applies near field communication (NFC) technology to allow smartphones to be used for mobile payments, coupon redemption, or to use loyalty cards for retailers, all with a simple tap of the smartphone against a reader at the retailer’s point of sale.
In order to use the Isis mobile payments service, therefore, a consumer would need to have an NFC enabled device. This means that it needs to have been manufactured with this type of chip. Moreover, the Isis Mobile Wallet app will need to have been installed and credit, debit, and/or loyalty cards will need to have been registered with it so that they can be used during the shopping experience.
The fact that the mobile payments rely on NFC technology has been among the hurdles that the uptake of Isis has faced, as it is still not available in the majority of devices. At the time of this article, there were about 35 devices that support Isis because they have NFC technology and they are compatible with the apps. Every one of those devices is Android based. All users of iPhones, Windows Phones and BlackBerry phones are currently out of luck.
That said, the mobile payments wallet is expected to become available to iPhone, Windows Phone 8, and BlackBerry 10 by the end of this year.