Verizon Wireless (VZ, Fortune 500), AT&T (T, Fortune 500) and T-Mobile have together announced hat Isis, a mobile commerce network will be launched this week.
Isis has serious firepower on its side: In addition to the wireless Goliaths, its backers include Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) and Capital One (COF, Fortune 500), which plan to make their credit and debit cards available for use with Isis’ mobile wallet app.
An Isis representative would not comment on when the service is expected to roll out nationwide.
It’s taken Isis almost two years to get its mobile wallet this far. Founded in November 2010, the venture has been slowly piecing together an industry consortium and developing the technical infrastructure to realize its vision of a smartphone-based “mobile wallet” that can store payment cards, loyalty programs and merchant offers.
Others have gotten there quicker. Isis comes into an increasingly crowded arena.
Isis’ system relies on NFC (near-field communications) chips, a short-range wireless technology. Fairly few smartphones have the chips currently installed, but almost all upcoming models will include them. If Isis’ carrier partners work with handset makers to pre-install Isis’ software on new phones — a likely scenario — the upstart venture could quickly gain traction.