GSMA calls for NFC as standard feature on mobile handsets

GSMA calls for NFC as standard feature on mobile handsets

The GSMA - an international trade group of mobile operators - is calling for full near field communication (NFC) functionality to be built into handsets from mid-2009, in a bid to drive the uptake of contactless payments.

To drive development, the Association says it is backing the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's 'Single Wire Protocol' to standardise the interface between SIM cards and embedded NFC chips within handsets.

Rob Conway, CEO, GSMA, says: "We are committed to ensuring that mobile payment services are delivered as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. But this will require device manufacturers to make sure that the vast majority of commercially available handsets incorporate the Single Wire Protocol and Near Field Communications features as standard."

The GSMA's Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative has already seen trials get underway across eight countries - including Australia, Korea and the US - involving nine mobile operators, with further pilots planned in another 14 countries by 15 operators.

The Association says the positive results of several recent mobile payments trials demonstrate growing consumer demand.

An m-payments pilot launched by a consortium of French banks, telcos and technology vendors last year recently reported customer satisfaction rates of above 90%.

In London a similar trial that allowed people to use their mobile phones to pay for tube journeys and make small value purchases was also hailed as a success, with nine out of ten participants happy using NFC technology on a handset and 78% interested in using contactless services if available.

Mung-Ki Woo, VP, payment and contactless, Orange, says the operator has now run successful trials in France, Spain and the UK.

"For Orange, mass deployment is now mainly dependent on handset manufacturers providing a large range of adequate handsets," says Woo.

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