Feeds

Three complains to Brussels over NFC exclusion

We want in to the bonk-n-bleep alliance

Website security in corporate America

The UK's smallest operator, Three, has launched a preemptive strike against the NFC gang of three which was announced in June, claiming its exclusion is competitively motivated.

The alleged cartel, which still lacks a name, is jointly owned by Everything Everywhere, Telefonica UK and Vodafone, and is intended to create a standard platform for the delivery of NFC-based advertising. The joint venture hasn't applied for regulatory approval yet, though it will have to soon, so Three's representation to the European Commission preempts that application.

The venture was announced in June, but despite being billed as a cross-operator initiative, Three's CEO says he didn't even hear of the deal until half an hour before it went public. The other operators say Three is welcome to sign up, just as Facebook or Skype is welcome to sign up, but only as a customer of the service, not an owner.

The single-platform plan is a good one: operators sensibly abandoning their dreams of raking a percentage of every electronic transaction, and instead ensuring that they get control over the electronic coupons and location-based advertising that NFC makes possible.

Those opportunities are significant as the secure element inherent in the Near Field Communications standard makes distribution (and use) of loyalty points and promotional vouchers possible, and it's not a business already dominated by Visa, Mastercard and their ilk.

Companies planning to use such things will want to deal with a single entity, so they can launch an electronic loyalty card and have it work on every NFC phone regardless of the network operator (and able to transition between network operators). That's what the joint venture is intended to provide, though without Three it lacks critical ubiquity.

Three reckons this is a deliberate move to stifle a growing competitor who is starting to take customers from its bigger rivals. The other operators say Three has never shown significant interest in NFC and their race to market would be delayed by including another company in the ownership structure.

The venture will need regulatory approval, and Three's arguments are pretty compelling. If a joint venture can't offer cross-network compatibility then it will simply fall to Apple and/or Google to provide the services on which the operators can't agree, and not for the first time. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.