Which mobile payments system would you rather use? Vodafone’s or Apple’s?

The FT today reports about the European operator mobile payment initiative that’s gathering a head of steam:

The UK’s largest mobile operators are preparing for the launch of Europe’s first joint mobile phone payments platform following indications that regulatory approval for the venture could come as early as this summer.

Now then, here’s a question: Is this way, way too late?

And, what precisely can the mobile operators hope to achieve when around half (or a third, whatever) of the devices they’re shipping will be completely incompatible with their m-payments system?

We all assume Apple will finally hit the market with some sort of m-commerce functionality baked into its handsets. It’s unlikely that Apple will play nicely with anyone in this regard, certainly not the operator groups.

So whilst we can expect Nokia and the various Android manufacturers to bow to the operator demands for compatibility and even offer hardware changes to support the operator-led payments system, what will the retailers support?


However. Provided the operator payments system offers wide compatibility with existing infrastructure — like PayWave/Swipe — then there’s a good chance they will get some airtime.

Just how influential can Apple be? And what about the consumer? Which will they pick when given the choice?

It all depends on Apple. If they launch integrated NFC payments this year — in the States at least — I think they have a chance to dominate. If we see absolutely nothing from Apple this year related to payments then I think the operators will have a bit of time to think and get it right.

What do you reckon?

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