NEW YORK -- Isis, a joint venture of wireless carriers that is developing a mobile-payments service, has delayed its first big test of the product, slated for Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Isis is a joint venture of AT&T Inc., AG's T-Mobile USA Inc. unit and Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon Communications Inc and the U.K.'s Vodafone Group PLC.
The delay is the latest complication for the banks and technology companies have been pouring money into the development of mobile payments, betting that some consumers will want to pay for purchases with a phone instead of traditional plastic, said the report.
Ryan Hughes, chief marketing officer of the Isis venture, did not disclose specific reasons for the delay or provide a new date for the tests. "As the days are counting down on summer, we are not going to hit our previously announced summer time frame," he told the newspaper. He said the company intends to provide an update on its plans in October.
The group, which announced plans for the service nearly two years ago, is among a slew of companies that are developing services to turn smart phones into payment devices for use at the cash register.
"The delay is not a result of a change in strategy or a new business model," Hughes said. He also said that Isis "has received a lot of positive interest, and we've got some further market momentum."
In a separate interview with FierceMobileContent.com, Jaymee Johnson, head of marketing for Isis, said that the platform will not be ready by September 21 and that the company will give more updates about its progress in October. Isis previously said it would launch this summer.
Johnson said there is not one particular reason for the delay, and that the company is working through a handful of final issues to improve the customer experience. "I would characterize where we are as checking items off the punch list," he told the website.
He said the company is making sure everything from buying a phone with near-field communications (NFC) to downloading the Isis app and using the phone in a store is working properly. "It's really more of a commitment from an end-to-end customer experience to make sure all elements of that process are working well," he added.
NFC is the technology that allows phones to exchange data with a reader at the cash register.
An Isis spokesperson told CSP Daily News, "We're working through a final punch list of things to ensure a great consumer experience and seamless partner integration. The list is short, but a few pieces require additional time. While we will not launch in the summer timeframe, we will be back in touch in October to discuss updated launch specifics and momentum news."
In addition to storing credit and debit-card information in a digital wallet, companies are also envisioning smart phones as a repository for loyalty cards and targeted coupons, the report said.
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Capital One Financial Corp. and American Express Co. are among the financial institutions that have said they will make Isis available to their card customers.
Google Inc. last year launched its own NFC-powered mobile-payments product, called Google Wallet, on Android devices. A group of more than a dozen merchants, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and 7-Eleven Inc., are developing their own platform called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX).
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