The mobile wallet platform being pushed by the nation's three largest mobile phone service providers will begin its initial testing period before the end of next month.
Isis - the joint mobile wallet venture from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless - recently revealed that it would begin pilot testing of its payment program in both Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, within the next few weeks, according to a report from Bloomberg News. While the exact date of the rollout is not yet available, a spokesperson for the company told the news source that it would take place in the summer, which ends on September 21.
This test run of the program was originally slated to take place at some point in the first half of the year, but was delayed for a few reasons, the report said. Perhaps the biggest cause for the date to be pushed back was the fact that, late last year, Isis decided to change its plans for how payments would be processed. While it originally wanted to have the phone companies running it process all the transactions on its system, it will instead rely on credit card payment processors, which it says will make the transactions themselves more secure.
"The focus has been: Get it right, make sure it’s secure,” Brad Duea, senior vice president of product management at T-Mobile USA, told the news agency.
Further, there may have also been concern that there simply weren't going to be enough smartphones on the market capable of handling a mobile wallet transaction, the report said. As it is, only four smartphones that come loaded with near-field communications technology - essentially the engine that allows mobile wallet purchases to work - are currently compatible with the T-Mobile network, though the company and many experts anticipate that the number of capable handsets will increase significantly in the next year or so.
As far as success goes, analysts generally believe that Isis is poised to succeed where others have struggled, the report said. For instance, Google Wallet has been available to the general public for more than a year, and as with Isis, a lack of available devices may be hindering its adoption. But the advantage Isis may have over Wallet is also that it is administered by phone providers whose products and services consumers use on a daily basis, which could give the program more traction and trust than those from a third party, even one as well-known as Google.
It's generally believed that mobile wallet adoption will come sooner rather than later, likely as more NFC-enabled smartphones hit the market. For the most part, experts believe that use of these systems will be slow at first, but then take off once more consumers become accustomed to them and see the convenience they potentially provide. Within just the next few years, the mobile wallet industry is expected to be booming.