Mobile payment has been an industry Holy Grail since the days of Sonera and the now-legendary SMS-controlled vending machine. It has been plagued by conflicting alliances and proprietary technologies, but we have a compelling success story in the making in Japan, and this is an area where Vodafone's scale and corporate mindshare actually count for something significant. Could European banks hope for a mobile partner with better coverage?
On the Web 2.0 front, I find the company's interest unsurprising, but also intriguing. Vodafone must surely look at the deal between Helio and MySpace in the US (using the Cyworld platform, incidentally) with some envy. With over 18m active Vodafone Live! devices in the four core European markets at the end of December, Vodafone would arguably be the most attractive and technically best platform should Mr. Murdoch decide that EuroMobMySpace is next on the list of deals.
This could get very interesting.