InfoCom says operators ramp up NFC deployment plans.
Operators world-wide push for adoption of NFC — Horizontal industry joint efforts to develop m-commerce apps — In Asia, carriers developing cross-country services — Current business models not expected to generate enough revenues
“Several carriers have forged already joint ventures and partnerships to ramp up the development of NFC services”, InfoCom Chief Analyst commented, “teaming up with other carriers as well as financial institutions” in order to launch pre-commercial trials of NFC services in their respective markets. “Such cooperation are vital to make the services work”, InfoCom analyst commented further. Strategic partnership with financial providers enables operators to strengthen NFC offerings to allow mass-market services. In France, for instance, France Telecom teamed up with Barclaycard and MasterCard to provide m-payment services to existing credit card accounts while Telefonica cooperates with La Caixa and Visa in Spain. “In Asia, carriers are already developing cross-border services”, an InfoCom Analyst located in Manila commented, ”South Korea SK Telecoms joined forces with Japanese KDDI and Softbank to launch trials for mobile payments and smart posters”. In the meanwhile, NTT Docomo teamed up with Korean incumbent KT to develop common specifications for NFC technologies to facilitate cross-border services for m-commerce, for instance mobile payments, mass ticketing and electronic coupon. InfoCom Analyst located in Manila further commented: “But also in Asia, in preparation for the full-scale commercial launch, players push for the standardisation, a necessary condition in order to allow inter-state transactions and interoperability”.
Joint efforts characterised also international carriers’ organisations, such the GSM Association (GSMA), pushing to develop standardised deployment of NFC services, utilising SIM cards as the primary mode worldwide. The GSMA is currently developing certifications and test standards for the use of NFC SIM cards to ensure the interoperability of NFC service. Some carriers which are more advanced in the process, as KT, plans to submit their common specifications developed for their cross-border NFC service to international regulatory and standardisation bodies in order to facilitate the creation of a base, common ground for cross-border NFC services.
Strategic partnerships and collaboration between players are expected to yield a suitable value proposition for NFC services, as current business models — based on transaction and advertising fees — are expected to generate marginal revenues for the operators involved. As NFC can virtually transform mobile phones into mobile wallets, carriers’ current initiatives aim to standardise NFC services in order to explore and develop additional applications for comprehensive mobile commerce service. Interactive advertising, for instance, is considered as one potential additional revenue stream. Another interesting application relates to management of multiple accounts: NFC services tested in Asia enable users to store and use multiple credit card accounts for mobile payments.
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