Wireless carrier Orange has committed to a wide-scale roll out of NFC services across its network, paving the way for a mobile, contactless future.
Europe's third largest mobile network operator says it will begin issuing NFC SIM cards to existing subscribers from Q2 2011. The firm has also made a pledge to work with handset manufacturers to ensure built-in NFC functionality for more than half of the new smartphones it sells by 2012.
Orange has been an active participant in NFC payments trials across Europe, working with Barclays on the development of contactless transit applications, and in France on a large-scale NFC project in Nice.
France will be the first beneficiary of the move, with the Samsung Player One Cityzi NFC phone - currently only available in Nice - due to arrive on shelves across the country from January. The company has set a target of 500,000 NFC device sales for 20111.
With this latest initiative, momentum appears to be building for mobile contactless technology, with both Google and Apple expected to produce NFC-equipped devices in the near future.