45 mobile carriers endorsed Near-field communications (NFC) based mobile payment standard and committed to launch and support services based on it, according to the mobile trade body the GSMA. The endorsement also included the release of handsets and SIM specifications for the technology.
It remains to be seen whether this commitment holds true and whether other critical stakeholders in the mobile payment process — handset makers, infrastructure providers and payment processors — follow suit.
The commitment by the mobile carriers is the latest development in the battle for share in the mobile payment process market, using both with and without NFC technology.
Verifone, the payment services provider that worked with Google on its Google Wallet venture, is acquiring European rival Point for €600 million ($811 million) to expand the number of locations where it can offer its NFC-based payment services. Intel and MasterCard have partnered to offer an NFC authentication option for payments made on Ultrabooks.
Orange has launched NFC payment services in selected markets in Europe with plans to expand deployment, whilst others, like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, are already working on NFC partnerships through their Isis consortium.
However, others are pursuing non NFC-based options. Most notably Square, the payment service mostly known for its dongle based mobile payment technology, now has 800,000 merchants and is steadily rolling out new services, such as the Card Case app, to enhance its offering.
Strategy Analytics forecasts that there will be sales of 1.5 billion handsets with SIM-based NFC capabilities worldwide between 2010 and 2016, and that in that period there will be $50 billion in mobile transactions made. ABI Research believes that 85% of all new point of sale terminals shipped in 2016 will be NFC-enabled.
The 45 mobile carriers:
América Móvil, AT&T, AVEA, Axiata, AXIS, Bharti Airtel, Bouygues Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom, CSL, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa Corporation, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (du), Etisalat, Everything Everywhere, Globe Telecom, KPN, KT Corporation, Maxis, Mobily, MTS, Orange, Proximus, Qtel Group, Rogers Communications, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), SFR, SK Telecom, Smart, SOFTBANK MOBILE, Telecom Italia, Telecom New Zealand, Telecom Slovenije, Telefónica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Telus, TMN, Turkcell, Verizon, VimpelCom, VIVA Bahrain and Vodafone Group.