UK Telcos Co-Op for NFC = Wow!
While not Japan specific, other than quick reference to the Oyster card (by Sony), Tecos Co-Op on NFC in the UK – Finally: http://bit.ly/kZi4op
Just had to smile seeing this news. Finally the tecos there have accepted that they need to co-op on projects of this scale, as we saw Long Ago – deployed 2004 – in Japan, in order to make a go of it. Better late than never – Kudos [Eds]
Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile announced plans on Thursday for a joint venture that would allow shoppers to pay for goods and services with their phones rather than cash or cards.
Consumers will be able to pay for sandwiches, drinks and train tickets by placing their phones close to a reader similar to the Oyster card system on the London Underground. In the future the technology might even allow you to unlock your front door and start your car.
Guy Laurence, chief executive of Vodafone UK, said the technology would enable “everyone to put their whole life in their pocket on one device”. “The mobile has become the one item people really cannot be without,” he said. “In the near future, people will start leaving their wallets at home … and in the mid-term, access to cars and homes will be built into phones.”
Tom Alexander, chief executive of Everything Everywhere, which owns Orange and T-Mobile, said the new system would allow consumers to “manage their money and make payments using their handsets, helping advertisers reach their customers on the move, and helping banks provide their clients with an easy and convenient way of making payments”.
The “wave-and-pay” technology, called near-field communication (NFC), has proved popular in the Japan and South Korea, but has so far failed to make an impact in Europe. The fiercely competitive operators said working together was the only way to bring the technology to the masses and encourage mobile phone manufacturers to include it in their forthcoming models.
Update June 24th: Mori-san made some interesting comments in this respect at CommunicAsia
Telecom operators looking to introduce mobile wallet services should adopt a long-term, platform-operator perspective in order to develop a successful infrastructure whereby both service providers and customers can enjoy good quality of service.
Kyoshi Mori, mobile systems and standards specialist for NFC (near-field communications) services and innovations at NTT DoCoMo’s frontier services department, said mobile wallet services are not part of the Japanese mobile carrier’s “core business services”.
However, it recognized the upside of such a deployment and, rather than competing with existing partners to introduce mobile payment services, NTT DoCoMo chose instead to play a “coordinator” role to build up the infrastructure and ecosystem, Mori added.
Elaborating, the executive, who was in Singapore to attend the four-day CommunicAsia tradeshow, said it did not expect to make money in the short-term from providing NFC and billing infrastructures due to the hefty initial investment needed.
However, there are still benefits to be reaped, he said, noting that since the mobile wallet service was introduced in 2004, over 60 percent of its subscriber base now use NFC-enabled mobile phones. This has helped increase data usage and establish “customer stickiness” for the carrier.
For the mobile wallet ecosystem to succeed, though, Mori advised operators to make sure they “don’t take too much out from the pie” by charging service providers prematurely for utilizing the infrastructure, as this will hamper the industry’s growth.