A few months ago I heard about Isis. The unholy alliance of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, Discover and Barclays to create a payment system based on the new NFC chips coming in the latest generation of smartphones. The big assumption here was that if anything could bring these rivals, who control 70% of the US wireless market, together it would be the opportunity to cut the major credit card companies out of the coming opportunities in wireless payments.
Well, not so fast. In the past few days we are hearing of American Express's new Serve payment Apps, Google's plans to partner with Mastercard and Citigroup on mobile payments and today the announcement of PayPal's stealth Stripe program. And of course, the constant rumors that Apple is coming up with a system of their own built on top of iTunes.
One or a number of these options will likely win, but Isis will likely not. Which leaves me wondering. As the telcos find themselves consistently being disrupted on all fronts by software or financial service providers, where will they turn to make their piece of the pie. Likely, once again, it will be with higher costs and reduced service.
Don't trust the gods when they are angered.