Telefónica O2

Headquarters: 
United Kingdom

It seems just a matter of time before Telefónica O2 UK launches NFC commercially.

The telco, recently dethroned as the largest mobile operator in the UK by the Orange UK-T-Mobile merger, signaled a move toward mobile payment with the announcement of its O2 Money cards in July 2009. It had been partnering with NatWest bank on the prepaid cards. But as NFC Times reported in July 2010, NatWest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, dropped out of the partnership. O2 is part of an even larger group than Orange, Spain-based Telefónica group. Telefónica has plans for NFC trials and eventual rollouts at its flagship Spanish operation. 

O2 UK chief Ronan Dunne hinted a launch of mobile payment on NFC phones may not be that far off, although more British merchants would need to accept contactless before any such project could occur. It remains to be seen if 2010 is the year. Sources also say the telco would need at least a couple of attractive NFC phone models, which may be on the way to the market from one or more handset makers.

O2 led one of the largest NFC trials held to date, a 500-phone O2 Wallet pilot that launched in November 2007. The phones packed London’s popular Oyster transit application along with a Visa payWave credit application from large UK issuer Barclaycard.

Barclaycard, which is leading the British rollout of contactless cards, is also keen to commercially launch NFC. But the Barclays bank credit card unit announced in spring 2009 it had paired up with O2 rival Orange UK, part of the France Telecom Group, to develop mobile payment with NFC. The pair announced the launch of a credit card in January 2010, which, unlike the O2 Money card, also carries a contactless chip.

Meanwhile, other branches of Telefónica Europe have experimented with NFC, including O2 operators in Germany and the Czech Republic. O2 UK has also held other NFC trials, including with home healthcare workers, who tap their phones to check-in when visiting patients. Meanwhile, Telefónica in Spain is planning at least two big NFC trials, including one involving 1,500 customers in May with la Caixa bank in Sitges, near Barcelona. 

Key figures: 
Customer Base–O2 UK 2009 2008
Subscriptions
 21.3 20.3
Mobile, in millions
Financial Results–O2 UK
 2009 2008 Change
Revenue
6,512 
7,052 -7.7%
In millions of euros
Key NFC Personnel: 
James Le Brocq, managing director, O2 Money, UK
Craig Oldroyd, Head of Mobile Payments, UK
Claire Maslen, senior market development manager, UK
Gary Waite, NFC capability manager, UK
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 

Vodafone, Orange UK, Everything Everywhere

Last Updated: 
Oct 2011
Author: 
Balaban

HEADLINE NEWS

Transport for London Proposes Extending Licensing Deal with Cubic for Open Payments Technology

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – London transit authority Transport for London is proposing to extend an agreement with U.S.-based fare collection system vendor Cubic Transportation Systems to license the authority’s technology used in its pioneering contactless open-loop payments system.

Fitbit Pay Launches in 21st Market, Though Issuer Numbers in Most Markets Remain Small

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Fitbit Pay has entered its 21st market, with the launch this week in Thailand with two of the country’s top four banks, Kasikorn Bank and Siam Commercial Bank, along with credit card issuer Krungthai Card, or KTC, supporting the digital payments service.

Denmark’s Largest Bank Pilots Own Payments Wearables, Choosing Low-Tech Option Over Apple Watch

Oct 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest financial institution, is pitting its planned low-tech FastPay payments wearables against Apple Watch and some other higher-end wearables using tokenization, as it launches a large pilot starting this month in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Study: Apple Pay Dominates Mobile Payments Among Debit Card Users in U.S., Though Volume Remains Low

NFC Times Exclusive Insight ­– New research shows that Apple Pay continues to dominate mobile payments services for bank cards in the U.S., although transaction volume is still low.

NFC Student ID Cards Launch in Apple’s Wallet, Though Progress Remains Slow for Apple to Add Nonbank NFC Applications

Oct 12 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight –Three U.S. universities Tuesday launched NFC-enabled ID cards in Apple’s Wallet, with Apple confirming that only three more U.S.

LA Metro Plans NFC-Enabled Mobile App for TAP Card But Holds Off on Open Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, plans to introduce mobile payments using NFC phonesbut only supporting its closed-loop TAP fare payments service, not open-loop payments, NFC Times has learned.

Chinese Wearables Makers Begin to Introduce Low-Cost Devices Supporting NFC Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A new smartwatch from low-cost Chinese wearables maker Huami and the latest fitness band version from Huami’s major investor and partner, Xiaomi, both support transit and retail payments–making them among the first budget smart wearables devices supporting NFC payments.

In-Depth: San Francisco’s $461 Million Transit Contract Will Support NFC Ticketing but Not Open-Loop Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – A planned US$461 million contract to upgrade and operate the Clipper fare collection system in the San Francisco Bay Area will include account-based ticketing and a mobile app that will enable customers to tap for rides with a closed-loop virtual Clipper card on NFC-enabled smartphones.

Apple Drops Requirement to Have App Open for Tag Reading

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple has relaxed its approach to NFC tag reading in its new iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr models, removing the requirement to have a reader application open in order to use a tag. It calls the feature Background Tag Reading, and it offers essentially the same functionality that Android devices have had for years.  

Fossil Expands Support for NFC Payments, as It Continues Push into Smartwatch Market

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Fossil Group is pushing deeper into the smartwatch market, as it seeks to diversify from the financially strapped traditional watch market. Among the apps Fossil is offering on several new smartwatch models are Google Pay and Alipay, the latter in China.

Google Expands Payments Service in India, Targeting Projected $1 Trillion Digital Payments Market

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight Google, its eye on India’s projected US$1 trillion digital payments market in five years, has rebranded its Tez payments service to Google Pay and is planning to expand its services, including to Gmail-based payments and, later, NFC.

Fitbit Unveils First Non-Smartwatch Supporting NFC Payments Service, but Progress of Device Rollout Slow

Oct 13 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight ­– U.S.-based wearables maker Fitbit in November plans to release its first non-smartwatch supporting its payments service, Fitbit Pay, with the recent unveiling of its new health and fitness tracker Charge 3–but as with its Versa smartwatch, released in April, the NFC payments feature will only be available on a “special edition” version of the tracker in the U.S. and likely in some other markets.