Carriers in the US have a history of killing any mobile payment technology. They did it first with SMS payments and then with carrier billing by charging upwards of 50% as a transaction fee. They have slowly seen the light on app stores since Apple took the market by storm and cut out the carriers from any profit. Still it took RIM over a year to finally force carriers to preload App World on BlackBerrys and RIM had to up their App World cut to 30% to cover the much higher carrier billing option they now offer.
This war seems to be brewing again with NFC (Near Field Communication) payments with carriers and manufacturers on either side. For once RIM is trying to run around carriers by baking the NFC tech into the phone itself and cutting out the middle man. Carriers are not happy with this and are trying to bake the NFC tech into the SIM card. These battling views will really heat up in the next 6 months since NFC looks like it stands a real chance.
According to the WSJ, North American carriers have been telling RIM to stop trying to run around them. Canadian carriers are supposedly telling RIM “Guys, you won’t be doing this.” It will be kind of interesting to see which way RIM goes. They have usually bowed to every carrier demand even when it hurt RIM. For example, RIM allows carriers like AT&T to push out 25+ spamware preloaded icons on my BlackBerry every time I register. Its horrible for the user experience!
The thing is that carriers control the mobile handset sales. If they don’t like what RIM is doing they could simply not offer BlackBerrys with NFC. That would put RIM in a real pickle. I kind of understand carriers wanting to make the NFC chip mobile and easy to swap between phones. On the other hand I can see carriers killing this by once again wanting 30%+ fees on each transaction.
What do you think? Thanks to everyone who sent this in!