AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile form Isis, a mobile commerce network

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: November 16, 2010


Yesterday, Eric Schmidt touted the fact that both the Nexus S and Gingerbread would support payment via Near Field Communication, and today NFC is getting even more support.  Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have teamed up with Discover and Barclaycard to announce Isis, their new way to make payments with your phone.  Isis will be capable of much more than paying for things, though, says Michael Abbott, CEO of Isis.  Isis will also aim to eliminate the need to carry rewards cards, coupons, transit passes, tickets, etc.  The Isis service is expected to go live in "key geographic markets" in the next 18 months.  Check out the full press release below.

Using a mobile phone to pay for purchases and carry rewards cards and coupons sounds like a pretty nifty idea, especially since it would basically eliminate the need to carry a wallet.  Some people may be a little wary of keeping all of their credit card information on their handset, which is understandable, but I suppose that that's all the more reason to make sure that you don't misplace your phone, right?  The only downside to today's news is that Isis will take some time to launch, and even when it does, it's only coming to "key geographic markets."  There's no list on which areas will get Isis first, so for now, try not to get too excited about paying for your groceries and lunch with only your cell phone.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless Announce Joint Venture to Build National Mobile Commerce Network

Isis to Lead the U.S. Payments Industry from Cards to Mobile Phones; Available to All Merchants, Banks and Wireless Service Providers; Venture Led By Former GE Capital Financial Executive

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless today announced the formation of a joint venture chartered with building ISIS™, a national mobile commerce network that aims to fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save.

Isis' initial focus will be on building a mobile payment network that utilizes mobile phones to make point-of-sale purchases. By utilizing smartphone and near-field communication (NFC) technology to modernize the payments process, Isis intends to deliver new levels of competition and value to consumers and merchants. Isis expects to introduce its service in key geographic markets during the next 18 months.

Michael Abbott has been named as Chief Executive Officer of Isis. Formerly with GE Capital, Abbott is a veteran financial services executive with extensive experience in the payment and technology industries.

"Our mobile commerce network, through relationships with merchants, will provide an enhanced, more convenient, more personalized shopping experience for consumers," said Michael Abbott, Chief Executive Officer of Isis. "While mobile payments will be at the core of our offering, it is only the start. We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes."

Isis Brings Both Consumer and Merchant Scale

Founding members, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, collectively provide wireless services to more than 200 million consumers who will have access to the Isis service. Isis is working with Discover Financial Services' payment network, currently accepted at more than seven million merchant locations nationwide, to develop an extensive mobile payment infrastructure for the joint venture.

Barclaycard US, part of Barclays PLC, is expected to be the first issuer on the network, offering multiple mobile payment products to meet the needs of every customer.

"We believe the venture will have the scope and scale necessary to introduce mobile commerce on a broad basis. In the beginning, we intend to fully utilize Discover's national payment infrastructure as well as Barclaycard's expertise in contactless and mobile payments," said Abbott. "Moving forward, Isis will be available to all interested merchants, banks and mobile carriers."

How It Works

The new venture will enable contactless mobile payment and commerce services using near-field communication technology. NFC uses short-range, high frequency wireless technology to enable the encrypted exchange of information between devices at a short distance. The new system is being designed and built to include strong security and privacy safeguards.

About Isis

The joint venture is between AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless and is based in New York City. The venture is chartered with building ISIS™, a national mobile commerce network that will fundamentally transform how people shop, pay and save. The Isis mobile commerce network will be available to all merchants, banks and mobile carriers. ISIS is a trademark of JVL Ventures, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos, product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.