Invitations have been sent out for a major Google press conference in New York on Thursday. Bloomberg News anticipates that the search engine giant will announce the release of a new mobile-payment service in conjunction with Sprint. With the system in place, smart phones will gradually replace credit and debit cards.
The new near-field communication (NFC) technology will enable people to pay for products with a simple flick of their phone at specially equipped cash registers. This is expected to boost revenues from mobile advertising and especially from mobile coupons, one of the fastest growing internet advertising markets. Last year, spending on mobile coupons topped $370 million, but this is expected to surpass $6.5 billion by 2014.
An announcement of mobile payment systems will give Google an immediate advantage over competitor Apple, which is said to be planning the launch of a system of its own. It will also help Sprint in its competition against other mobile phone service providers. Three of these—AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile—are planning to launch a similar service, but only in 2012.
One advantage over the latter system is that it will be rolled out in just two cities at first, including Salt Lake City. The Google-Sprint initiative, insiders say, is to be released in five cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Frankly, each of those cities does more business than Salt Lake City, giving Sprint—and Google—another edge.