Nokia

Headquarters: 
Finland

To those who criticize Nokia for the rather bland handsets it has outfitted with NFC and put onto the market, the handset maker responds–with some justification–that it has done more than any other phone maker to advance NFC technology.

Since co-founding the NFC Forum, the industry’s major trade group, in early 2004 with NFC co-creators Philips Semiconductors and Sony, Nokia has introduced NFC versions of four handsets. The phones have been the workhorses of most of the dozens NFC trials held to date. (See Project Database).

Another phone, the Nokia 6216, was delayed, then Nokia pulled the plug on the project. The 6216 was to be another mid-tier feature phone, like the others, except that it was to support a standard connection to the SIM card, which then could have stored payment, ticketing or other applications securely in the phones. Nokia has resisted the move by mobile operators to establish the SIM card as the preferred secure chip to store the NFC applications. This gives the telcos more control over the applications since operators issue the SIMs.

Then in June 2010, Nokia announced it would begin to move its Symbian smartphones to NFC. It then quietly began shipping its first Symbian-based NFC phone, the C7, in October 2010, though the handset maker said the phone model needed an NFC software upgrade before the NFC features would work. 

Some observers have thought Nokia had its own plans for controlling the phone, even becoming an NFC service provider in its own right and using a secure chip it embeds in the phones, rather than the SIM, to store applications.

In August 2009, Nokia announced plans to launch Nokia Money, a purely network-based service, with which the handset maker hopes to enable consumers to send money, pay bills, make purchases with merchants and top-up prepaid mobile accounts. All money transfers and payment would use SMS or another network channel and would target developing countries, where bank accounts and payment cards are scarce.

Of course, Nokia could eventually try to put the Nokia Money application onto NFC phones to allow for proximity payment. It would need an acceptance infrastructure of contactless readers to make such an idea work, however. That's unlikely to happen soon in the target market.

In any case, Nokia appears to be keeping its options open to insure the SIM card does not control all applications that get downloaded to NFC phones. After losing a standards battle in the mobile operator’s den, the SIM committee of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, the handset maker went to the NFC Forum in mid-2009 to adopt what some consider a competing standard.

Meanwhile, Nokia says it plans to introduce more NFC phones, some of them high-end. Anssi Vanjoki, who will lead the effort to revamp Nokia's troubled smartphone division, announced in June 2010 that beginning in 2011, Nokia's Symbian smartphones would begin to support NFC globally. Vanjoki apparently sees NFC as a way to beat back the challenge from Apple's iPhone and makers of Android-based smartphones.

Key figures: 
Phone Figures
Q3 2008 Q4 2008 Q1 2009 Q2 2009 Q3 2009
Handset Shipments 117.8 113.1 93.2 103.2 108.5
Global Market Share 38.5% 38.5% 38.1% 37.8% 37.8%
In millions of units
Source: Strategy Analytics
Key NFC Personnel: 
Gerhard Romen, vice chairman, NFC Forum, director of mobile financial services, Nokia
Kristiina Ilkka, NFC product marketing manager
Andrea Bacioccola, lead program manager for NFC, Windows Phone program
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 

Samsung, LG, Apple, HTC

Last Updated: 
Apr 2012
Author: 
Balaban

HEADLINE NEWS

Study: Merchants Could Boost Sales by Easing Fears Over Digital Security

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A survey conducted by American Express suggests that U.S. merchants could increase their online sales by taking steps to enhance the security of customers' information.

Visa Expands Token Service Provider ‘Partner’ Program, Though Most Vendors Not Yet Integrated with VTS

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– Visa this week announced a new list of 13 “partner” companies to help it distribute and manage Visa-generated tokens, which the network giant is promoting for use in what it hopes will be large-scale rollouts of Internet of Things devices that can do payments.

Analysis: Apple Apparently Sees Need for Additional Pairing Technology with Support for NFC Tag Reading

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– Nearly three years after embracing NFC technology for mobile payments but declining to support NFC’s tag-reading mode, Apple, in a surprise move, is adding tag-reading support to its NFC-enabled devices, including the iPhone 7 series and forthcoming iPhone 8, as well as its Apple Watch.

Exclusive: Major U.S. Processors Say In-Store Transactions for Pays Wallets Remain Disappointing

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Apple Pay and the other major Pays wallets still only account for around 1% of card transactions in the U.S., three major processors told NFC Times. At least two of the processors say they haven’t seen growth in Apple Pay over at least the past year.

Alipay North America Chief Insists Company has No Plans for U.S.-Based Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  Alipay has no plans today to introduce a mobile wallet in the U.S., and is instead expanding its merchant acceptance footprint in the U.S. only to serve Chinese visitors, Souheil Badran, president of Alipay North America, told NFC Times.

NFC Secure Element Shipments Likely Dropped for First Time in 2016, and Vendor Group Cuts Forecast for 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Shipments of NFC secure elements almost certainly fell in 2016, based on recent figures released by vendor association Eurosmart, though the group is again declining to release specific shipment figures for NFC cards and embedded chips, instead combining the NFC unit shipments with those for machine-to-machine modules.

Samsung Pay Launches Commercially in Taiwan; No. 4 Credit Card Issuer Taishin Reveals Apple Pay Card Adds

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung made it official, launching Samsung Pay commercially today in Taiwan with seven banks, as expected, following Apple Pay to the market by about two months and beating Android Pay, which is expected to launch on the island nation as early as next week. 

Why is Mobile Wallet Adoption So Disappointing? Some Industry Players Weigh In

NFC TIMES Exclusive –  NFC wallets are failing to catch on in the U.S., especially for in-store transactions, for a variety of reasons, including poor awareness among consumers and cashiers, lack of full buy-in from merchants, problems with certifying terminals for contactless and an insufficient value proposition, said industry players, including a representative from Google.

Samsung Pay Launches in UK Without Major Banks or MST Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung today finally launched its Samsung Pay mobile payments service in the UK, well behind rival payments services Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Wal-Mart Still Balks at Accepting NFC; Nordstrom Wants Right to Refuse Some NFC Wallets

NFC TIMES Exclusive – LAS VEGAS, Nev.: It’s been more than two and a half years since Apple Pay launched in the U.S., and retail giant Wal-Mart Stores still is no closer to accepting NFC at its 4,000-plus stores in the U.S. then when Apple began rolling out its NFC-enabled mobile payments service in October of 2014.

Apple Testing Loyalty Feature; Google Expected to Expand Payments for Home Device

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As they struggle with low user adoption of their respective wallets in the U.S., Apple and Google are seeking to add more features, hoping to increase transactions, NFC Times has learned.

Taiwan Chief Banking Regulator Reveals Apple Pay Card Adds; Samsung Launches Early Access in Country

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The chairman of Taiwan’s banking regulator, the Financial Supervisory Commission, Wednesday revealed just how fast a start Apple Pay got on the island nation, following its launch of the mobile payments service there in late March.