Buying Big Macs with Mobile Phones

McDonald's and DoCoMo formed a joint venture to enable payments at McDonald's with cell phones.

I think this is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the need to form a joint venture demonstrates the need for up front investment and cooperation among players in this payment value chain. Otherwise, it suffers from the chicken and egg problem. POS equipment is needed to interoperate with technology in the cell phones. Carriers and handset manufacturers need incentives to add cost into the cell phones. There has to be a network for it to be interesting to anyone.

Second - but not mentioned in the article - it gives both McDonald's and DoCoMo the opportunity to track consumers and their eating habits. Cash is more likely to be used in small transactions. Electronic payments will allow user behavior to be tracked and used for marketing purposes.

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