Isis: AT&T, Verizon, And T-Mobile’s $100 Million Gamble In Mobile Payments

NFC will be ubiquitous one day, but we still have quite a ways to go. Unlike other smartphone features, this requires adoption on a huge scale from just about everyone, which will definitely take a while. But we are getting closer.

While Sprint fiddles with its Google Wallet, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have reportedly made plans to invest upwards of $100 million in their joint-venture mobile payments network called Isis. Can anyone else smell the competition simmering?

According to Bloomberg, the carriers may invest way more than that depending on how much traction they can get out of banks and merchants. Isis already has the support of a major player in commerce: Visa. However, Google Wallet has its own big name credit card company in MasterCard.

The two mobile payments networks also have “offers” services, which send coupons to users that they can save and redeem with their phone. At least in the case of Isis, the network will monetize the offers by charging marketers a fee to send out coupons to user’s mobile phones.

The carriers had originally planned to launch Isis around mid-2012, but since Google (and Sprint) seems to be on a faster track in terms of setting up merchants to use the service, Isis may pick up the pace. In fact, it had better hurry, as the mobile payments industry is expected to generate $240 billion by this year alone, according to Juniper Research. That number is only expected to triple in the next five years.