EC to Investigate U.K. Mobile Payments JV

April 17, 2012

Late last week, the European Commission (EC) opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed joint venture between U.K. carriers Telefónica, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere with plans to develop a mobile wallet. A preliminary investigation found that the JV, which was first announced in June 2011, raised potential competitive concerns in the nascent mobile payments market in the European Economic Area. 

“The Commission is in favor of any initiative that will develop the promising mobile commerce sector in Europe and bring new and innovative payment and interactive advertising experience to consumers,” says Joaquín Almunia, vice president in charge of competition policy. “At the same time, we need to make sure that competing services can keep emerging on this market, so that incentives to innovate remain and customers get the best mobile commerce services at the best cost.”

The Commission now has until Aug. 27 to render a decision on whether the joint venture is anticompetitive.