buy metformin online buy propecia buy clomid buy synthroid seroquel

Battle Continues for Control of NFC Phones as Samsung Weighs in

At least two-thirds of NFC phones that shipped last year packed embedded secure chips and that share is expected to hold fast this year.

As an executive with one of the major payment networks put it to me last fall, when I asked him how he thought these millions of embedded chips would be used: “There are weapons; they are going to be used.”

That analogy is apt, given that Visa’s announcement last week of its global partnership with Samsung Electronics seems likely to heat up the battle for control of NFC phones.

The deal calls for preloading Visa’s contactless application, payWave, on the embedded chips in Samsung’s new NFC mobile devices, which probably will include the forthcoming Galaxy S4. Banks could then have Visa’s TSM, Oberthur Technologies, provision their customers’ Visa accounts on the chip or use their own TSMs.

And the deal is not exclusive, so Samsung also could work with MasterCard or other application providers, and it would be technically possible to pack a PayPass or other applet on the secure chip alongside payWave. In fact, MasterCard is believed to have discussed preloading PayPass on the Samsung embedded chips, and it might well have been MasterCard announcing the global partnership last week, not Visa.

Whether a preloaded payWave applet gets personalized with an actual Visa payment account—or the embedded chip gets activated to begin with–will depend on the market.

Competition for Telcos
But in certain markets, the Visa deal with Samsung will pose real competition to the SIM-centric approach being taken by mobile operators for their NFC rollouts–more so than Google threatens operators with its struggling Google Wallet, at present.

The deal enables banks that want to introduce NFC mobile payment to avoid the telcos’ SIM cards and instead deal with Visa and Samsung.

Much will depend on the amount of clout Samsung wields in various markets and whether it is willing to challenge operators in those markets where telcos subsidize Samsung’s phones.

It hasn’t done so in the past when it comes to its NFC phones. Samsung has put an embedded chip in pretty much all of its NFC smartphones and smartphone-tablet hybrids since the middle of last year, including the 40 million-plus units of the Galaxy S III it has sold.

But the device maker has dutifully deactivated the chips at the request of operators or allowed telcos to effectively block them in active NFC-SIM markets, such as the U.S. and Western Europe. Outside of supporting the Google Wallet in some of its phones sold by No. 3 U.S. telco Sprint and on the Galaxy S III distributed by a couple of smaller U.S. telcos, nearly all of the Samsung embedded chips have gone unused to date.

That could change with the deal with Visa and others Samsung makes for use of its chip. As NFC Times has reported, the device maker last year formed a mobile-commerce unit at its South Korea headquarters, in part to market the chip.

“I think that the game has not been decided,” Michael Baumann, general manager for payments development at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, told NFC Times, who also said the bank is eager to have fewer parties to deal with to enable its application to run on NFC devices. “Who is more powerful, Samsung or the telcos? If you talk Apple, you don’t have to ask the question.”

Samsung, at least up until recently, has been assuring operators and their big trade group, the GSMA, that it is different from Apple and will continue to support operators.

“Of course, it’s for Samsung to decide what they will do, but Samsung has been doing tremendously well over the past year or two years, partly out of the fact that it’s very flexible and quite operator friendly, GSMA director general Anne Bouverot told NFC Times last September, when asked about Samsung’s embedded chips. “And I meet with (Samsung mobile chief) JK Shin regularly and other Samsung officials, and they’re very clear that this is part of their differentiation from other established, leading handset manufacturers .”

By other established leading handset manufacturers, she meant Apple. But that was last fall, and since then Samsung has continued to be on the ascendency, while Apple’s mystique, despite strong sales of the iPhone 5, has diminished.

Chip Activation is Key
Of course, the irony of Visa, with Samsung, announcing their deal to use embedded chips at the GSMA-organized Mobile World Congress–at which telcos were showcasing SIM-based NFC, was probably not lost on the SIM-centric telcos planning NFC rollouts this year.

The operators continue to argue that they, not Samsung, Google or Visa’s TSM, are the parties best positioned to handle problems that could sour the experience for consumers using NFC services. And telcos contend the removable SIM is the best secure element to use to cancel or transfer applications if the phone is lost or stolen.

Samsung is still not talking about where it will activate the chip, but at a minimum it seems likely it will promote the secure element in markets in Asia and Eastern Europe, where telcos don’t control the phone distribution channels; and perhaps to second-tier operators without their own SIM-based NFC strategies.

“In terms of how and when that’s (embedded chip) going to be turned on, I’m going to be careful not to talk for Samsung,” Bill Gajda, Visa’s head of mobile, said last week. “I think they are looking at markets that may not have heavily subsidized models (by operators) or the market is open to multiple secure elements,” he said.

Samsung is no friend of the SIM, Klaus Vedder of SIM supplier Giesecke & Devrient and long-time chairman of the ETSI SIM standardization body, told NFC Times. He said Samsung has been acting a lot like Nokia did five or six years ago when the latter was top of the heap of handset makers–that is, trying to curb the powers granted to the SIM.

Offering More Services
But rental fees to use the secure chip probably isn’t what’s motivating Samsung to promote the embedded chip. Some mobile operators are already questioning the revenue-producing ability of their SIM-rental models and are focusing on other opportunities, such as building NFC-based mobile commerce platforms and seeking to earn fees for delivering coupons and other promotions.

Samsung probably wants the services on the embedded chips to add to the features its devices offer and keep customers coming back. Its embedded chip strategy is not likely tied to its recently introduced wallet app for the Android platform.

Competing handset makers probably have the same idea, and HTC, LG Electronics and Sony are putting embedded chips in at least some of their Android NFC devices, and BlackBerry included an embedded chip in all of its NFC-enabled phones.

HTC enabled an NFC payment application in China on one of its devices last year.

But these device makers need the good will of operators much more than Samsung does, so they are unlikely to challenge their SIM-based NFC plans.

Google Still Interested in Embedded Chip
Google also is expected to continue to use an embedded chip for its Google Wallet and has asked for support for the GlobalPlatform 2.2 standard for the chips running its Google Wallet and in its Nexus devices, say chip makers. This could indicate Google wants be able to enable more services, which could be managed independently of one another, using the standard.

Meanwhile, telcos might use embedded chips in certain markets themselves–not only Sprint in the U.S., which plans its own wallet and has an embedded chip strategy–but operators that issue SIMs also could gain access to embedded chips by cutting deals with handset makers.

Big telcos, however, will continue to promote their SIMs as the only secure element in the NFC phones they sell in most markets.

If Samsung decides to promote its embedded chips in some of those same markets, the battle for control of NFC phones and the mobile wallets they support would far from over.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

China UnionPay Reportedly Strikes Deal with Samsung to Use Embedded Chips

Oct 9 2014 (All day)

Samsung Electronics reportedly says it has an agreement with payment network China UnionPay that would enable embedded chips in more than 3 million of its devices in China with China UnionPay’s contactless-payments service, though no banks have yet been mentioned as issuers.

Taiwanese Telco Launches NFC; Implementation Issues with Mifare Limits Handset Models

Oct 2 2014 (All day)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s largest telco, Chunghwa Telecom, Wednesday announced the launch of its long-planned NFC commercial service, enabling MasterCard PayPass credit cards from four banks, along with one of the first mobile NFC services supporting a Mifare transit purse, EasyCard.

Taiwan’s No. 1 Telco Prepares to Announce NFC Commercial Launch

Oct 1 2014 (All day)

Taiwan’s largest mobile operator, Chunghwa Telecom, will announce the small commercial launch of NFC service on Wednesday, with participation from MasterCard Worldwide, four major banks and the island nation’s largest transit and retail e-purse, EasyCard, NFC Times has learned.

People on the Move: Visa Europe’s Director of Mobile Joins Apple

Apple has hired Visa Europe’s director of mobile, Mary Carol Harris, as the tech giant gears up for its expected launch of Apple Pay in Europe later next year.

Makers of NFC Accessories Targeting iPhone Contend Their Market is Not Lost

NFC Times Exclusive: Despite the announcement by Apple of its first NFC-enabled iPhone, released Friday, promoters of NFC-enabled attachments targeting the iPhone contend they will not lose business.

NFC Forum Adds Long-Awaited Analog Testing to Its Device Certification Program

The NFC Forum has added the final major component to its device certification with the addition of analog testing, but the impact of the development on handset makers’ willingness to submit their devices for certification remains to be seen.

Softcard Hopes to Quiet Critics in Announcing Support From Major Fast-Food Chain

Just when many industry observers were counting Softcard out in the wake of Apple’s announcement of Apple Pay, the mobile carrier joint venture formerly known as Isis today announced a deal with its biggest merchant to date, the Subway sandwich fast-food chain.

Spain’s Bankinter Launches HCE Commercially

Spanish bank Bankinter has launched its long-anticipated mobile-payments service based on host-card emulation, after being one of the first banks to propose an HCE-enabled service.

Lack of NFC Tag-Reading Feature in New iPhones Could Create Problems for Tag Companies, Marketers

Sep 20 2014 (All day)

NFC Times Exclusive: Apple’s decision to exclude tag-reading functionality from its forthcoming NFC-enabled iPhones has caused disappointment among suppliers of tags and developers of tag applications, who told NFC Times they believe the omission could confuse consumers and potentially hamper tag-marketing campaigns.

Apple Announces Bold Move into Mobile Payments Using NFC Technology

Sep 9 2014 (All day)

Apple, as predicted, is taking the NFC plunge, adopting the technology in its next iPhones and Apple Watch to enable a mobile-payments service, Apple Pay, and disclosing partnerships with the three largest U.S. payment networks, issuers representing more than 80% of U.S. credit card volume and major national merchants.

OTI Names Reader Customers; Discusses Wave Pilots; Possible iPhone Impact

NFC Times Exclusive: Ofer Tziperman, CEO of Israel-based NFC reader maker OTI, has named two of its largest reader customers in the North American market in an interview with NFC Times.

NFC Tags with I²C Interface Could Allow More Complex Device Pairing

NXP Semiconductors said its NTAG I²C tags, which combine an NFC Forum Type 2 NFC tag with an IC contact serial interface, will allow more complex device interfaces between smartphones and consumer electronics, such as home appliances, wearable devices, and health and fitness monitors