Sprint to launch wave-and-pay service in 2011, before AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon
Sprint Nextel is looking to beat AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon to market with a service coming this year that will enable people to buy goods with their smartphones.
Kevin McGinnis, Sprint's vice president of product platforms, told Bloomberg that the telecom company was working with payment networks and smartphone manufacturers on the near-field communication features.
Customers would use the feature by tapping their phones on or waving their phones in front of scanners in retail stores, McGinnis told Bloomberg.
Sprint, the third-largest mobile carrier in the U.S., is hoping to make its service available before the near-field communications joint venture among AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, known as Isis, hits the market. Isis was announced last November and is expected to launch in 2012, Bloomberg said.
"We intend to make this an open solution where consumers can use their phone in a variety of physical locations," Sprint's McGinnis told Bloomberg. "Because we're allowing other brands and other institutions to participate, they can also tell their consumers that this is available on Sprint."
Isis plans to take a percentage of each purchase made through the service, but Sprint isn't looking to do the same, he told Bloomberg.
Rather, Sprint may take a share of purchases made with digital coupons available through its service, or it may take revenue from targeted advertisements that interact with a consumer's phone, McGinnis said. Purchases made through Sprint would show up on credit card statements, not phone bills, Bloomberg said.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A Sprint BlackBerry phone at a Sprint store in Woodmere Village, Ohio. Credit: Tony Dejak / Associated Press