EE and Vodafone have confirmed that all assets of Weve will be sold to O2.
O2 have stated that the loss of Vodafone and EE will see the initiative become bigger and better, claiming that the joint venture allowed them to gain the scale they needed to launch Weve.
David Plumb, digital director at O2, said: ‘I think that joint ventures can be really successful but we started Weve to gain scale. We’ve been able to do this through our other digital businesses and now we really don’t need Vodafone and EE to achieve that anymore.
‘When we came up with this idea, we didn’t have our O2 Wifi business and, in order to compete with search engines and other digital business that have a large scale, we felt we needed to work in partnership with them to get that scale, but actually it turns out our digital business has been very successful.
‘We can achieve the scale we want without Vodafone and EE and now we don’t need them,’ added Plumb.
Despite claiming that Weve will have ‘greater scale than ever before’, O2 have decided to pull out of mobile payments altogether, stating that they are completely focusing on the marketing aspect of the initiative. In terms of payments, Plumb stated that no one has yet managed to achieve the global scale required to be successful, and that O2 will no longer look to gain a foothold in the market. He said: ‘I think there is a lot of investment going into payment services from many players in the ecosystem and its very much undecided whether anyone will really make it work.’
Ian Fogg, senior director of mobile and telecoms at IHS, has stated that Weve’s initial purpose to bring together mobile payments and advertising has now changed with this acquisition. ‘Weve had a significant proportion of mobile customers, what Weve lacked was Three, which haven’t been very happy about being omitted from the initiative.
‘With the Three network now in the process of acquiring one of the members of Weve, it has changed the foundations on which Weve was based.
Despite being hailed as a success story, Weve made losses in its first year of £25m on revenues of about £13m and Fogg believes that their failure to crack the mobile payments market will put pressure on other operators.
He added: ‘The question now is, with initiatives such as Apple pay and Samsung set to arrive in the UK, what role do mobile operators have in the future of mobile payments?’