Weve, the mobile payments joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone, is in early-stage talks with one-time refusenik Three about it joining.
The joint venture, formerly dubbed Project Oscar, began work in earnest after its formation was formally approved by the European Commission in September. Around 70 staff are employed in its central London offices and the joint venture is on a heavy recruitment drive.
Three had attacked the joint venture as ‘anti-competitive’ and argued it would not benefit UK consumers. It softened its stance after Weve was formally approved, although Three is understood to want to know more information about the terms of joining before it enters more formal discussions.
Weve’s ambitions are twofold. The first is to develop a base of customers opted-in to mobile marketing services such as texts. O2 is the biggest player in this area and Weve has brought in the former O2 Media staff to work on this. EE has recently launched its own opt-in marketing services and Vodafone is expected to follow in the New Year.
Around 15 million customers across the three networks have opted-in for marketing services. Weve’s second ambition is to develop a common standard in mobile wallets meaning customers of different banks can use the payment services on offer from operators.
Tony Moretta, marketing director at Weve, said talks were under way with operators and MVNOs about signing up to the joint venture. While he declined to name the MVNOs, in a hint that Virgin Mobile and Tesco could sign up he said that given ambitions around NFC payments, it made sense to partner with companies that sell NFC-enabled handsets. He confirmed it was in talks with Three but refused to put a time on how soon it could potentially sign up.
He said: ‘To be honest, we are incentivised to bring more companies in as the more opt-ins we have, the better it will be to sell to advertising agencies and partners. How quickly companies can sign up will be down to things such as integration of technology, so it’s hard to put a timescale on it. Some companies will also have to introduce opt-in agreements for advertising with their customers.’
What is Weve?
Weve operates on a revenue share model for mobile advertising. Agencies can approach the joint venture and ask to target a specific demographic. Marketing messages are then sent to this audience and money is made by those who take advantage of the offer or view the ad.
After Weve takes a fee for running costs, the rest of the revenue is split on a proportional basis according to how many of an operator’s customers have taken advantage of the offer. So if 30% of the offer is seen by EE customers, it gets 30% of the revenue.
Author: Graeme Neill