Cellphones on the streetWe’ve previously reported that AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile were gearing up to have your cellphone replace your credit card — now it’s official. The companies today announced the Isis mobile commerce network, which uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to let you make purchases with your phone.

The news seems fitting, since just yesterday Google CEO Eric Schmidt showed off a prototype Nexus S Android phone with NFC technology built-in. The carriers say the technology will be launching over the next 18 months in “key geographic markets” — which I read as major cities.

The network will offer even more than mobile payments and will go towards offering a personalized shopping experience, according to Isis CEO Michael Abbott, who previously spent a decade at GE Capital. “We plan to create a mobile wallet that ultimately eliminates the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes,” he said in a press release.

By next year, NFC technology will likely find its way into most high-end phones. It’s telling that it was the first thing Eric Schmidt showed off with his Nexus S, and there have long been rumors about Apple trying to put NFC tech in the next-generation iPhone.

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The three carriers collectively have over 200 million customers in the US. In one fell swoop, they’ll soon make NFC transactions a possibility for nearly two-thirds of the US.

Via BGR, photo via Ed Yourdon