Monday, February 21, 2011

GSMA announces world's leading mobile operators will introduce NFC services

The world's leading mobile network operators have announced today that they are committed to introducing near field communication (NFC) services in a number of countries around the world from 2012.

Sarah Clark, editor of NFC industry trade publication NFC World and author of 'NFC Business Models' explains what the announcement means and why the operators have joined together to make the announcement at this time:

"NFC phones are set to revolutionise the way we decide what products to buy, where we choose to buy them and how we choose to pay," says Sarah.

The new NFC phones contain a high security chip known as a secure element which acts like an electronic version of your wallet and can be used to replace everything from credit cards and loyalty cards to bus and train tickets, library cards, door keys, coupons and even cash.

These chips can be built into mobile phones and other devices by the manufacturer, they can be integrated into SIM cards issued by mobile networks to their subscribers and they can be added to existing phones via special microSD cards or stickers issued by banks and other organisations.

"Whoever provides a consumer with a secure element can then generate new revenues by leasing space on the chip to other businesses that also want to offer next-generation mobile services to their customers," Sarah explains.

"In the GSMA statement issued today, the mobile operators make it clear that they plan for NFC services to be delivered using the SIM as the secure element, placing operators in control of NFC services — and future revenue streams."

"The announcement does not necessarily mean, however, that these leading operators have now found an answer to the need for a business model for the launch of commercial NFC services," she adds. "Rather, this announcement signals the operators' realisation that they need to work together in order to deliver the same global reach that a rival offering from handset manufacturers and others would provide."

"Essentially, the mobile operators are involved in a bid to grab land — and a significant share of revenues — ahead of expected rival proposals from the likes of Google and Apple in the near future. The move is likely to prove to be good news for consumers and for businesses such as retailers, transport operators, travel firms, brands and others looking to take advantage of the arrival of NFC services since there will be competing offers on the table and that should lead to lower prices."

About the mobile operators' statement:

A statement issued by the GSMA, the international trade association for the world's leading mobile network operators, says that "Many of the world's leading operators, including America Movil, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT Corporation, MTS, Orange, Qtel Group, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor and Vodafone, have voiced their commitment to implementing Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, and intend to launch commercial NFC services in select markets by 2012." The full announcement is available to view on the GSMA's website.

About the 'NFC Business Models' research report:

'NFC Business Models' provides companies looking to benefit from the arrival of near field communication technology with the information needed to understand the issues, identify their options and develop a strategy for success.

The research report addresses key questions that remain to be resolved including:

* What kind of pricing models will need to be offered to service providers to persuade them to offer NFC services — and will they be sufficient to cover the costs of developing and making available an NFC service delivery platform and of issuing NFC devices to consumers?
* Will consumers be willing to pay for an NFC mobile wallet? And what kind of services will they want to use?
* How can merchants be persuaded to adopt the contactless payments terminals required to support NFC transactions?
* What are the benefits to banks of providing NFC services — and do the benefits outweigh the costs involved?

The 170-page research report was published in January 2011 and is available to purchase today for £797 (US$1,258/€924). Further information, a full table of contents and online ordering facilities are available at http://www.sjb.co.uk/models.source

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