Barclays stuns wireless world and pulls out of payment venture

'It was never going to work...'

'It was never going to work...'

Barclays Bank has announced its shock decision to pull out of the controversial mobile payment consortium, the Mobey Forum. The Mobey Forum drives the development of a mobile phone payment chip which lives in a separate slot beside the operator's SIM card, and hosts the applications needed for mobile payment. Barclays was one of the major supporters of the dual-SIM initiative, but in a surprise move, it decided to pull out. A spokeswoman for Barclays told silicon.com: "It's official. We have decided not to support the dual-SIM handset because we don't see it becoming a standard." The bank's departure signals a further setback for the forum. It was launched only six weeks ago but has failed to gain widespread industry support. Some critics have even branded the forum's developments 'unworkable'. Juha Snellman, the VP of partner operations at wireless payment systems specialist Smartrust, said if the phone becomes a host for two separate SIMs it might as well make room for a dozen. "If we cannot agree on one open infrastructure SIM, everyone else will want to put their own SIMs inside the handset which just won't work." Kimmo Matero, marketing director of mobile payments at Finnish telco Sonera, said the rest of the industry's lack of support should make the banks realise the initiative is doomed. He said: "Everyone knows a single SIM slot makes sense, but banks are not willing to give in because they want to control their own smart SIMs and not share the profits with operators." The remaining Mobey Forum members include ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Nordea Bank and Visa. A Mobey forum representative was unavailable for a comment.