In 2012 three of UK’s largest mobile operators joined together to form a mobile commerce company called We’ve. The three mobile operators were O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere(EE) that make up approximately eighty percent of the mobile users in the UK. We’ve has not yet become what it started out to achieve but with a recent new partnership with MasterCard and a successful trial of a mobile wallet application called Pouch it may reach its goals.
According to We’ve there are over twenty million mobile users that have chosen to receive the service.. That’s about twenty percent of the total number of mobile phones in the UK. Supposedly there are upwards of seventy million mobile phones in the UK. Even with We’ve in it’s infancy this high number of opt’d in users could mean that users, in general, want mobile commerce capabilities and we could speculate that as they expand their mobile transaction services then the number of users choosing to receive mobile commerce services from We’ve will respectively increase.
The mobile commerce platform from We’ve is essentially two parts. First, is We’ve’s mobile wallet. The idea of the mobile wallet is that consumers would not have to carry around all the plastic credit, debit and loyalty cards anymore. Likewise any paper coupons or other merchant items that users carry around on their person. Instead, the mobile wallet on the smartphone would contain all the information that was previously carried around on plastic or paper. Consumers could then just use their smartphone to purchase services and goods securely and in a safe manner. We can all attribute to how many plastic cards we have ranging from credit, debit and loyalty cards. Most people have more plastic cards then they can carry. Considering almost every single resident of the UK has a mobile phone incorporating a mobile wallet is a brilliant idea.
In 2014, We’ve just recently announced a partnership with MasterCard to hopefully drive merchants to take mobile payments. Likewise, We’ve has conducted a trial of their application called Pouch that aims at being the vehicle for mobile transaction services and the container for store loyalty cards, merchant coupons, debit and credit cards. We’ve is evaluating various technologies for use with Pouch such as NFC, QR codes and Apple iBeacon. It’s yet to be determined which technology will be used and it may result in one particular technology used for iOS and another technology used for Android, as well as other mobile platforms.
The second part of the We’ve mobile commerce platform is mobile marketing. This is the platform for businesses to touch consumers. We’ve has five different mobile marketing services for businesses. First, is WeTarget, which is a targeted messaging service. Second, is WeWatch, which is a video MMS service. Third, is WeDiscover, which is an application discovery messaging service to promote applications to specific devices. Fourth, is WeLocate, which is location based messaging to target consumers at the right place to walk in to a store or when driving by a store. Fifth, is WeSend, which is a messaging service. All of these mobile marketing services include post campaign analytics and insight of data.
By the three largest mobile operators joining forces in the UK they have reach to upwards of fifty-six million phones. This makes We’ve an attractive mobile commerce platform for businesses. There are certainly competitive mobile commerce solutions but none with the reach of We’ve by way of the mobile operators. When We’ve gets their act together we may see their Pouch mobile wallet application native on every mobile device in the UK. We’ve may become UK’s clearinghouse for all mobile commerce.