A new cooperative agreement between the GSM Association (GSMA), which brings together the world’s major mobile operators, and the European Payment Council (EPC), which the EU banking sector, could speed the adoption of mobile phone payments, or near field communication, across Europe and the world.
Under the GSMA-EPC plan, payments would be carried out through a so-called “trusted service manager,” an intermediary between banks and mobile operators. This third party is necessary because some EU countries do not allow telecom companies to act directly as payment providers.
Banking institutions would fill the intermediary role, and the goal of the agreement is to establish a trusted service manager that can act “on behalf of a number of banks” to give customers the opportunity to choose between different financial institutions.
Tests of the system are ongoing in various countries around the world, including Japan South Korea, Turkey, and France. The first widespread deployment of the new payment system is expected by late 2008 or the beginning of 2009.