ISIS - the mobile wallet joint-venture from US mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile - has announced its US rollout later this year. The venture is a long-awaited attempt to standardize the nascent mobile payments industry, currently fragmented by multiple, competing initiatives and standards.

While establishing consensus among the multiple stakeholders required to establish a viable mobile payments network is a significant undertaking, the timing of this launch likely owes as much to the spread of NFC-enabled handsets as anything. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a leading technology for enabling mobile device-based payments as it allows the exchange of data merely by touching or swiping a device over an NFC touch-point.

In the Global NFC Handset Sales Forecast by Region: 2004 to 2017 report, Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service forecasts the proportion of NFC-enabled handsets sold in North America will more than triple in 2013, up from around a tenth in 2012, and will jump once more in 2014. NFC phones have reached a tipping-point, and now is the time to fully exploit their capabilities.