Aether Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:AETH), a leading provider of wireless data services and systems, and Visa U.S.A., the leader in global payments, today announced that the companies have forged an alliance to further develop the mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) marketplace.
Aether and Visa will work together on solutions, such as wireless electronic bill payment and other financial and e-commerce applications that support purchases on wireless devices.
By collaborating on mobile payment solutions, Aether and Visa will accelerate the adoption of secure wireless data services in the financial marketplace. Initiatives are expected to include: -0-
-- Further enabling and promoting the electronic presentation and payment of bills via mobile devices and Visa payment products.
-- The joint testing, certification and promotion of wireless point-of-sale products.
-- The extension of new wireless-based payment options to Visa customers.
"We are excited to work with Visa, the largest global payment card association, to advance innovative payment solutions for the mobile consumer," said David Oros, chairman and chief executive officer of Aether Systems. "M-commerce solutions have the potential to push the retail and financial marketplaces into entirely new and exciting areas."
According to the agreement, the two companies will jointly market, develop, and pilot m-commerce innovations, as well as work together on standards and technology development. One potential standards initiative involves sharing information via a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Electronic Commerce Expert Group in an effort to develop further m-commerce standards and practices.
"We are always looking for new ways to creatively support our member banks and their customers. This alliance will help us provide them with new methods to market, distribute and support their services," said Steve Ryan, senior vice president, e-Visa, the Internet division of Visa U.S.A. "Our partnership with Aether will help accelerate the development of m-commerce applications in the financial services industry and deliver significant payment solutions to the market."
The market for m-commerce services such as electronic bill payment and wireless e-commerce is expected to explode in coming years --similar to the way the Internet has transformed the world of commerce.
Mobile commerce has actually been enabled by the Internet. For instance, research from International Data Corp. (IDC) indicates there were nearly 6.6 million households banking online in the United States alone in 1998. By 2003, IDC expects that number to grow to more than 32 million households. The next logical evolution of these services is extending these electronic payment capabilities to wireless devices.
Growth in m-commerce is not limited to the U.S. market. The Gartner Group predicts that by 2004, at least 40 percent of business to consumer E-commerce transactions outside North America will be initiated from portable, cellular-enabled devices.
"We have all witnessed how the Internet has transformed the way people buy goods and services in recent years," said Oros. "The alliance between Visa, a recognized leader in the international financial industry, and Aether will help spark a new era where wireless and mobile devices can empower individuals not only to communicate, but also to buy goods and services."
"This is one of the first major alliances involving a mobile commerce solutions provider and a leading payment card brand name," said Mark Lowenstein, executive vice president, Wireless/Mobile Communications at The Yankee Group. "Alliances such as these will help drive the m-commerce market, which The Yankee Group expects to account for as much as 25 percent of e-commerce by 2005."
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