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Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Britain’s Vodafone Group plc, has more retail cell-phone subscribers than any U.S. carrier, some 89.7 million. According to Morbitzer, customers are asking about payment services through their carriers. “They want to be able go into a store and see someone,” he says.

And as carriers seek to sell more services to small businesses, they’re increasingly seeing the value of offering payment applications with smart phones, according to mobile-payments consultant Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group. “Clearly what this says more than anything else is that carriers that can reach merchants and casual merchants are recognizing the value of payment acceptance,” he says.

Digital Transactions, August 25, 2011