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

Carrefour Pay Launches in China with UnionPay, but Can the Network Beat Back Rivals Alipay and Tencent?

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Carrefour and China UnionPay have launched their 2-D bar code-based Carrefour Pay wallet feature, as UnionPay continues to try to find relevance in a booming Chinese mobile payments market now dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay.  

First Major Chinese City Accepts UnionPay Bank Cards–and Apple Pay–for Transit Fares

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – China UnionPay and the Guangzhou Metro have announced the transit company will accept UnionPay-branded contactless credit cards and bank cards loaded into the Apple Wallet, the first such Chinese city to support open-loop fare collection.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia to Support Fitbit Pay in Addition to Garmin Pay and Android Pay; Continues to Shun Apple Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Commonwealth Bank of Australia will support mobile payments with Fitbit Pay and the wearables maker’s forthcoming Ionic smartwatch, NFC Times has learned. That’s in addition to support for Garmin Pay and Android Pay, which the bank announced earlier this week; but the bank appears set to continue snubbing Apple Pay.

Mastercard Survey: Use of Mobile for Purchases in Emerging Markets in Asia Pacific Far Surpasses Use in Developed Countries

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Despite large rollouts of NFC or related technologies in such developed Asia-Pacific markets as Japan, Australia and New Zealand, use of mobile phones for purchases in emerging markets in the region far outstrips those in developed markets, a Mastercard mobile shopping survey found.

Google Shuns NFC for ‘Audio QR’ in Tez Mobile App in India

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google’s new payments app in India, Tez, uses proprietary sound-based technology to enable mobile payments–shunning both NFC and also apparently scannable QR codes, as the tech giant seeks to break into the country’s rapidly growing but increasingly crowded digital payments market.

Mastercard's Renamed ‘Engage’ Program for Digital Payments Vendors Lists Relatively Few Certified MDES Partners

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Mastercard has released its list of “partners” or certified vendors that it hopes will help the network roll out its key digital payments products, the Masterpass wallet and tokenization from the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service, or MDES. (See table below.)

Taiwan Regulators Express Doubts about Use of BLE for Top Transit E-Purse; Apple Rejects Purse for Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive – TAIPEI, Taiwan: EasyCard Corp., which runs the largest closed-loop transit and retail payments service in Taiwan, is seeking to become the first major transit fare-collection system globally to roll out Bluetooth-based mobile ticketing. But Taiwan’s strict financial regulator still has doubts about the security of the technology.

MediaTek Using NFC Technology from STMicroelectronics, Though Extent of Deal Not Disclosed

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– In what may be a response to the proposed tie-up between Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics has announced that it is “cooperating” with Taiwan-based MediaTek, the No. 2 supplier of processor chips for smartphones, to integrate its NFC technology into MediaTek reference designs.

Singapore Latest Country Pushing National QR Code Specification

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Singapore is the latest country developing a national specification for QR code-based payments, seeking to reduce fragmentation of various QR code-based schemes.

Another Wearables Maker Enters ‘Pays’ Market with NFC-Enabled Device

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based device maker Garmin is the latest company to introduce an NFC-based mobile payments service in a smartwatch, today unveiling its “Garmin Pay” service for its forthcoming vívoactive 3 watch.

Struggling Fitness Band Maker Fitbit Announces Plans for NFC Payments Service with New Smartwatch

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Struggling U.S.-based fitness band maker Fitbit announced today it will introduce an NFC-based payments service, “Fitbit Pay,” after it launches its first-ever smartwatch, the Ionic, promising to enable major issuers in more than 10 markets globally to offer contactless payments supporting the Visa, Mastercard and American Express brands.

Visa Ready Program May Not be Quite Ready for Tokenization Partners

Sep 15 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive – The Visa Ready program, Visa’s effort to get new digital payments services to the market sooner by giving vendors a fast-track route for their products and technologies to be certified, may not be quite ready–at least as far as Visa’s tokenization partner program is concerned