Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is David Robinson. I am vice-president of emerging business for Rogers.
As my title implies, my role at Rogers is to lead the company into the new, non-traditional areas of business. Today I am here to describe Rogers' efforts in mobile commerce, an area in which Rogers is a new entrant, not an incumbent, as we have virtually zero revenue in this category today.
Rogers' vision is to transform commerce by placing the smartphone at the centre of everyday transactions. With or without Rogers—or any mobile operator, for that matter—this transformation is inevitable and will allow consumers and merchants to take greater control of how they make and accept payments.
Today, smartphones are used to price compare, to find deals. Sometimes consumers learn that it's cheaper online and order the product right then for later delivery, using online mobile payment products. Consumers download applications from their favourite coffee shop, adding money to an online account, and pay at the till. If they opt in, they may be rewarded for their business, which provides the merchant with valuable information about their customer, sometimes bypassing traditional payment networks altogether. The carrier has no role in these transaction examples other than being the mobile Internet service provider.
So what value-added role can we play?
What carriers can do is offer solutions that are simple, scalable, and secure. By doing so, consumers win, as do issuers and merchants of every size.
Let me break that down for you.
“Simple” is just that, but I propose that a simple transaction is also a familiar transaction. “Familiar” does not mean the same—just not wildly different than what has come before. A simple transaction means no retraining of the retail staff, no requirement for new equipment or reintegration, and importantly, minimal retraining of the consumer. “Simple” is also readily available and easily discovered.
Scalable solutions include the largest number of consumers and merchants. While the coffee shop example is impressive, it is not scalable. Only the largest coffee chains can afford such a solution. Scalable means that the local diner is included in mobile payments, not excluded. Scalable means vast number of consumers can partake, not just those with smartphones from a particular supplier.
Every mobile commerce payment solution should be secure. The best mobile payment solutions do not compromise security for convenience. The best mobile payment experiences do it all: simple, scalable, and secure, without compromise.
A mobile payment made using a smartphone with a payment card stored in the SIM is all of these things. It is simple in part because it is familiar. While the form of the payment card may have changed, by every other measure it is the same payment product.
From the consumer's perspective, the service is provided by the financial institution of their choice and accepted in the same places as their contactless payment cards. From the merchant's perspective, if they have agreed to accept contactless payments and have the card readers in place, when a customer presents a smartphone to the reader, the payment just happens. No additional equipment, systems integration, or training are required.
So how are we doing here in Canada? Today, two of the largest Canadian banks and the three largest carriers have the ability to securely distribute and store virtual payment cards in the SIM inside select smartphones. By the end of the year, we are forecasting that a majority of Canadian payment cards will be available for download on the majority of new smartphones on virtually all carriers in Canada.
While there is still work to do, that majority is available. This is due in part to EnStream, the partnership of Rogers, Bell and Telus, whose role it is to reduce the technological barrier between issuers and carriers who really want the same thing—the ability for Canadians to get all cards, on all phones, on all carriers in Canada. There is no country in the world with the potential for such scale in such a short period of time.
To further accelerate mobile payments, Rogers has developed a mobile wallet application called “Suretap”. This application allows consumers to organize their virtual cards like they do their physical cards today. Suretap is not just about credit cards.
Canadians love their debit cards. We are among the most enthusiastic adopters anywhere, and merchants are keen to accept it for its affordable fee structure. While issuers ultimately decide which payment products are made available, Suretap is ready and willing to deliver mobile versions of Interac.
Suretap also comes with a virtual gift card store in which the customer can discover, compare, buy, gift, re-gift, and reload gift cards, all from inside the wallet. It offers merchants, including small merchants, new opportunities to communicate directly with their customers. This will help level the playing field between small and large merchants and offer cost-sensitive retailers the opportunity to promote low and non-interchange payment options.
Rogers believes that Suretap will be a catalyst for simple, scalable, and secure mobile payments in Canada. I look forward to demonstrating the application for you so you can see for yourself the value that an open mobile wallet can bring to consumers, merchants, and issuers of all types and sizes.