Simpay halts mobile commerce project

What about those billions of mobile commerce euros?

Less than 18 months after exhorting mobile operators around the world to join it in a billion-euro mobile commerce party, Simpay has breathed its last. The company quietly posted the announcement on its website on Friday, last week.

The company was set up by Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Telefónica Móviles, to enable payments of €10 or less. The idea was that people would be able to charge small purchases to their mobile phone bills, with Simpay taking a small slice of each transaction.

However, one of the founders has dropped out, and the rest of the organisation has followed suit. Simpay representatives are not commenting on the news, so we don't yet know which operator got cold feet.

"Simpay’s operations will be scaled back with immediate effect. Member operators will be able to exploit Simpay’s intellectual property rights at a national level, although international interoperability remains a goal," the statement says, adding that all of the operators still believe in the Simpay vision, and that members will make their plans known "in due course".

Analysts at Forrester, however, remain unconvinced that the program could ever have worked. "Simpay’s pan-European mobile payment scheme was doomed from the start," said Forrester's Michelle De Lussanet.

"The business volume from mobile content services transactions just isn't there, either on a national or a pan-European basis. Furthermore, operators' collection costs are simply too high." ®

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