Six handset makers pledge support for Isis m-commerce standards

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Six device manufacturers including HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson have committed to introducing Near Field Communications-enabled devices that support Isis, the forthcoming nationwide m-commerce network spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA.

According to Isis, the handset makers have agreed to implement Isis' NFC and technology standards, manufacturing phones that enable consumers to make point-of-sale purchases, store and present merchant loyalty cards and redeem offers all by tapping their phone against a corresponding reader device. Isis adds it will partner with contactless technology firm DeviceFidelity to extend m-commerce capabilities to consumers who own or purchase smartphones without built-in NFC support.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA first announced Isis in late 2010, promising services enabling consumers to conduct point-of-sale transactions, redeem coupons and use store merchant loyalty cards via mobile device. In May, Isis said it would open its system to all interested credit issuers and banks, and in July welcomed financial services providers Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express to its ranks. According to Isis, the moves significantly expand the payment options available to mobile subscribers, at the same time extending the fledgling network's reach to encompass payment terminals already installed at U.S. merchant locations.

Isis plans to begin consumer trials in the Salt Lake City and Austin, Tex. markets sometime in early-to-mid-2012. Late last month, Bloomberg reported Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA plan to invest roughly $100 million to accelerate the Isis buildout, mulling several options including pre-installing Isis software onto their phones and pushing manufacturer partners to adopt the solution. Sources add Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile will determine the funding amount depending on how successful Isis is in its efforts to attract banks and merchants.

The new Isis partnerships follow last week's launch of Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) rival Google Wallet m-commerce platform, which is now live in New York City and San Francisco merchant locations where partner MasterCard's PayPass system is accepted. Also last week, Isis confirmed it will support Google's Android mobile operating system when it begins operations.

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