CTIA Wireless, the U.S. cellphone phone industry's annual trade show that starts Tuesday, is drawing heavy participation not just from the cellphone industry, but from MasterCard, Visa, and other companies in the business of moving money around.
At a pre-show event Monday in New Orleans, MasterCard unveiled a suite of services to enable "mobile wallets," secure applications that run on phones and can hold virtual payment cards, transit tickets, coupons and other valuable.
The credit-card companies are hoping to stake a claim in what the industry expects to be a world where cellphones take over some of the function of regular wallets. A handful of phones can already be used on payment terminals in drugstores and fast-food restaurants, but wide adoption is probably still years away.
Gary Flood, president of global products and solutions at MasterCard, speaks Tuesday, and is followed by John Partridge, the president of Visa, on Wednesday.
In pre-show news, T-Mobile USA announced Tuesday morning that Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks will supply the network equipment for its new "4G LTE" network, a $4 billion project. On Monday, AT&T Inc. announced a big push into home security and automation. It will sell installation and services nationwide through its stores.
Samsung Electronics Co. will be at the show, likely showing off samples of the Galaxy S III, its new flagship smartphone. It was unveiled last week at an event in London, and hits European shelves at the end of the month. The Galaxy line, which combines big touch screens with light weight has proven to be a rare successful competitor to Apple Inc.'s iPhone.