European Commission clears Vodafone, Telefonica UK and Everything Everywhere's mobile wallet and advertising plans

Everything Everywhere's been keeping itself plenty busy on the mobile wallet frontier and its involvement with the slow-burning alliance with Telefonica UK (O2) and Vodafone has finally been given a nod of approval from the European Commission. The joint venture aims to "remove a number of barriers" that are apparently hampering the phone networks' efforts, while it will allow businesses to connect with a single mobile payments system compatible with the majority of the UK's carriers. Take a look at more specifics (including the less thrilling advertising details) at the press release after the break.

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Statement from Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK, Vodafone UK

Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK (O2) and Vodafone UK welcome today's news from the European Commission that their mobile commerce joint venture ("JV") has received unconditional clearance.

At the heart of the JV is a desire to bring to the UK an easy and effective solution for businesses to create and for consumers to enjoy mobile marketing and wallet services. With EC clearance received, the job of getting the JV up and running as quickly as possible can begin, starting with the hiring of the necessary people and the creation of the new company.

The mobile marketing platform is expected to be the first part of the business that is brought to market. The JV has the potential to transform the mobile marketing landscape in the UK. It will remove a number of the barriers that currently inhibit growth and create a single channel with access to millions of UK consumers at launch. It will provide a single contact point for media agencies, retailers and brands, enabling them to create campaigns that will reach millions of opted-in mobile users. This will apply across the majority of handsets, operating systems and mobile operators. For consumers, this means they will be able to receive the discounts and offers that they want to receive from the brands that are relevant to them.

In mobile payments, the JV will benefit businesses and consumers by accelerating the deployment of mobile wallets and associated services in a secure way. Through the solution offered by the JV, businesses will be able to connect once in order to offer a wide variety of mobile wallet services – including payment and loyalty cards – to millions of consumers on the majority of handsets, operating systems and mobile operators. It will give consumers a simple and secure shopping experience, allowing them to purchase goods and services using their handsets in physical locations such as shops, using contactless technology, as well as online.

The shareholders remain committed to making the JV services open to all, including all operators and MVNOs, 3rd party publishers, banks, advertising agencies, retailers and any company that wants to engage in this space. The partners in the JV believe it has an important role to play in helping to keep the UK at the forefront of digital innovation, creating jobs, promoting innovation and stimulating competition.