September 5, 2012 / 9:49 AM / in 8 years

Mobile operators' e-wallet scheme cleared in EU

The Vodafone logo is seen at the counter of the shop in Prague February 7, 2012. REUTERS/David W Cerny

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators cleared on Wednesday a scheme by British mobile operators Vodafone (VOD.L), O2 and Everything Everywhere to set up a joint venture allowing users to make payments and purchases via their phones.

Vodafone, Telefonica’s (TEF.MC) 02 and Everything Everywhere EVEVE.UL, owned by France Telecom FTE.PA and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), want to compete with mobile payment services from Google (GOOG.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Facebook (FB.O).

The mobile wallet scheme lets consumers use their mobile phones for transactions, instead of having to use cash or cards. The system can also be used by retailers, banks and advertisers.

The European Commission did not set any conditions for approving the joint venture.

“As a result of its in-depth investigation, the Commission concluded that the joint venture will not likely lead to a significant impediment to effective competition in the European Economic Area,” the EU antitrust watchdog said in a statement.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield

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