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Widespread NFC adoption still two years away - industry survey

24 February 2011  |  13116 views  |  0 Visa Telstra NAB - NFC payment trial

Widespread adoption of contactless mobile payments is still at least two years away thanks to poor coordination between industry players, according to a survey from vendor Sybase 365.

The poll of 251 industry participants at the recent GSMA Mobile World Congress found that 76% believe mobile proximity payments using NFC technology is still at least 24 months away.

With a range of stakeholders, including mobile operators, merchants, payment processors, banks and developers, all involved, 30% cite a lack of industry coordination as the main culprit for this delay.

A lack of NFC readers at the point-of-sale was raised as a reason by a 26% of respondents and inadequate handsets by 25%.

Marty Beard, president, Sybase 365, says: ""Mobile channels such as SMS, browser and apps are already being implemented by merchants globally. The challenge facing NFC is how to make the consumer payment experience significantly faster and easier than it already is."

This year's conference in Barcelona was used by a group of the GSMA's big player members to "commit" to NFC technology and bid to take the lead in a push for interoperability.

América Móvil, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT Corporation, MTS, Orange, Qtel Group, SK Telecom, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor and Vodafone all put their name to a statement promising to launch commercial services by 2012.

The trade group says it will develop the necessary certification and testing standards to ensure global interoperability, which is "critical to the widespread adoption of NFC".

Franco Bernabè, chairman, GSMA, says: "As we have seen, the adoption of different approaches to NFC will only serve to fragment the market. By uniting around a single standardised approach to mobile NFC and by collaborating across the entire ecosystem, our industry will continue to develop the compelling services that customers demand."

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