Worldwide NFC launches planned

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Commercial launches of NFC technology are planned for 2013 around the world, but mobile operators and other companies spearheading the rollouts still have to prove NFC’s appeal among consumers by addressing security issues, boosting awareness, and offering more compelling non-payment services.

GSMA’s Pierre Combelles says 2013 will be a crucial year for the future of NFC in the United States. More NFC-ready devices are expected to become available this year, but Apple’s exclusion of NFC from the iPhone 5 is seen as a setback. Meanwhile, major European telcos are preparing for commercial rollouts of NFC-ready mobile wallets, and nearly all have forged agreements with Visa Europe or MasterCard Worldwide to embed the telcos’ own mobile payment app in the wallets.

European operators also plan to open up their NFC SIM cards to banks and other payment issuers in return for rental fees. Substantial Asia-Pacific region NFC launches are planned or underway, with China Mobile announcing a large NFC trial to commence in February, along with collaboration with large banks.

Japan’s deployment of proprietary NFC technology showed that a large base of phones and acceptance points for payment and transit ticketing does not necessarily translate into mass consumer adoption, but Japanese telcos’ shift to standard NFC technology could give the effort a boost. Still, supporters have signaled the need for more nonpayment-related incentives and services to promote use of digital wallets.

NFC Times (01/03/13) Balaban, Dan

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