Mobile operators to trial NFC payment services

Mobile operators to trial NFC payment services

The GSMA - an international trade group of mobile operators - says trials of NFC-based contactless mobile payment technology will be conducted by 12 telcos around the world over the next few months as a precursor to the launch of commercial services.

The pilots are part of the GSMA's 'Pay-Buy-Mobile' initiative, launched earlier this year, which aims to develop a global interoperable mobile payments system.

The GSMA says altogether there are 35 mobile operators with 1.3 billion customers participating in its Pay-Buy-Mobile programme, which aims to use the card payments infrastructure already in place to provide global interoperable m-payments services.

The latest NFC-based payment trials are being carried out in Australia, France, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, Norway, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and the US. The 12 mobile operators involved include AT&T, Far EasTone, Orange, KTF, Maxis, SFR, SingTel, Telstra and Turkcell.

The GSMA cites a pilot programme in Korea which saw executives from mobile operator KTF pay for goods by passing their NFC-equipped handsets by contactless readers in retail outlets in Korea, Taiwan and the US in a trial involving real transactions facilitated by MasterCard.

Says Rob Conway, CEO of GSMA: "Just nine months after this programme was launched in Barcelona, the first pioneering mobile operators are preparing for the rollout of commercial services that have the potential to become the foundation of a global, interoperable mobile payment service."

The Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative advocates the use of the single wire protocol - recently adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute - to link the universal integrated circuit card contained within a mobile hand set with the phone's embedded NFC chip.

Earlier this week MasterCard said it is launching a NFC-enabled mobile payments services in Japan that would allow Japanese customers to use its contactless 'tap and go' PayPass technology at retail outlets around the world.

The GSMA also recently revealed that it is working with Western Union to develop the commercial and technical specifications for connecting mobile operators to the firms money transfer network.

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