30 days to decide whether UK m-commerce JV is anti-competitive or not.
The mobile wallet plan was unveiled by O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone last summer. Their idea was to create one wallet that could be used by a multitude of third parties for NFC payments, loyalty schemes, coupons and more.
It needs approval from the EC, and the latter has twice extended the deadline for its decision.
The Commission now has 90 working days to device whether the proposed transaction would reduce effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA).
"The Commission is in favour of any initiative that will develop the promising mobile commerce sector in Europe and bring new and innovative payment and interactive advertising experience to consumers.
"At the same time, we need to make sure that competing services can keep emerging on this market, so that incentives to innovate remain and customers get the best mobile commerce services at the best cost." said Joaquín Almunia, Commission VP in charge of Competition policy.
The UK operators put a brave face on it, insisting that their JV would benefit everyone.
A collective announcement said: "We remain confident that an extended review will conclude that the proposed joint venture is pro-competitive and will provide robust competition to global players.
"(We) believe the proposed joint venture will bring significant benefits to consumers as well as all businesses and organisations that want to offer mobile market and m-payments services.
"At the heart of the proposed joint venture is a desire to bring to the UK an easy and simple solution for businesses to create and consumers to enjoy m-commerce services."