French Make it Official With Nice NFC Launch

May 27 2010

Organizers of France’s “precommercial” launch of Near Field Communication services in Nice have made it official, kicking off what they say is the first project of its kind in Europe and a “rehearsal” for a national rollout of NFC next year in France.

The government-backed Nice project, which involves four mobile operators, at least two banks and the city’s transit operator, will enable subscribers to tap their phones to pay fares for buses and trams, make purchases in some stores and tap smart posters for updated transit schedules and tourist information. NFC-based student services at the nearby University of Nice Sophia Antipolis will also be available.

The four mobile operators, Orange-France, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, will put around 4,000 NFC phones on sale to subscribers in Nice initially. The phones will be the NFC version of the popular, though sub-3G, touch-screen phone, the Samsung (S5230) Player One. The phone, nicknamed the Player One “cityzi” for this project, will store secure applications in SIM cards the telcos issue with a standard connection to NFC chips in the phones. Cityzi is the brand and acceptance mark organizers have chosen for NFC in France.

Organizers, which officially launched the project Friday, see it as a prelude to a national rollout, which could begin in the Paris region, where transit authority STIF has committed to rolling out NFC-based transit ticketing in 2011.

But in announcing the Nice launch, French mobile operator group Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM, has volunteered a projection that only about 500,000 subscribers could be equipped with NFC cityzi phones by the end of 2011.

Besides paying bus and tram fares, subscribers will be able to buy transit tickets over the air, including making purchases of up to 10 euros (US$12.40) directly from their operators, which will put the charges on the subscribers’ phone bills.

Retail payment is also part of the launch, although merchant acceptance is limited for now and only two banks have publicized plans for participation so far. Others are expected to follow later in the year.

One of those two banks is BNP Paribas, which announced Friday it would be issuing 5,000 contactless EMV cards to customers in Nice and will also make its “KIX” mobile-payment application available. The cards and phone payment service will support the Visa payWave contactless application.

For the phone application, customers must enter a “private code” on their handset keypads before completing a purchase. But for purchases below 20 euros, they could choose not to enter the PIN, the bank noted.

BNP is referring to both the contactless cards and NFC phone application as “trial offers,” not precommercial launches, involving 43 of its branches in and around Nice. It will begin to promote the project in June.

Customers with NFC phones will need to activate the payment applications preloaded on their SIM cards in bank branches, according to an announcement Friday by France-based Gemalto, which confirmed it is serving as trusted service manager, or TSM, for Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank. The bank is an owner of NRJ Mobile, which is a mobile virtual network operator.

Unlike with BNP Paribas, customers of Crédit Mutuel-CIC will be able to buy the NFC phones in their bank branches, not only in mobile shops, according to the Gemalto release.

Gemalto also announced Friday it will serve as TSM for operator Orange France. TSMs generally download and manage applications over the air to NFC phones.

UPDATE: France-based Oberthur Technologies is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources, as well as for telcos SFR and Bouygues. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The story earlier indicated that Gemalto and Oberthur were both serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC. The story should have stated Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel and Oberthur for BNP Paribas. See project page.)   

Article comments

 
Yves May 25 2010

Dan, who is providing TSM services for Crédit Mutuel, Gemalto or Oberthur ?

Dan Balaban's picture
Dan Balaban May 27 2010

Yves,
Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel. The story should have read that Oberthur is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources. Thanks for the question to clear up this point.

 
VAS2010 Jun 1 2010

Nice news)
Dan, will you show us statistic later?

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

Profits Remain Elusive for Contactless Reader and NFC Tech Supplier OTI

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Israel-based On Track Innovations reported continued negative adjusted EBITDA and didn’t announce any new major reader sales during a recent conference call to discuss the company’s first quarter earnings. Despite a recent patent case win, investors appear to be getting impatient.

Identiv Reports Drop in Q1 Sales and Full-Year Guidance; but Says Demand for NFC Tags for IoT Up

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Identiv reported lower-than-expected revenue for its first quarter and continued losses, though CEO Jason Hart said the company is se

Telco-Led NFC Payments Continue as Niche Market, but Growth Prospects Uncertain

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Orange in Spain is the latest telco to announce the launch of a co-branded mobile-payments service using SIM cards and NFC phones, one of about 15 or so operators to launch globally so far. But it remains to be seen how many more will follow suit.

ICBC Launches HCE Mobile Payments with China UnionPay and Visa, as Chinese NFC-Payments Market Gears Up

NFC Times Exclusive Insight –Chinese banking giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has launched a mobile-payments service using host-card emulation, supporting credit cards branded by China UnionPay and Visa. 

Vendor Group Confirms 30% Growth in NFC Secure Elements in 2014; Revises 2015 Growth Rate

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Smart card vendor association Eurosmart has confirmed its estimate that vendors shipped 350 million NFC secure elements last year, up 30% from the year before, fueled by embedded chips in Apple’s iPhones and what is probably the last significant growth spurt in NFC SIM card shipments. It predicts shipments of 550 million secure elements in 2015, up 57% from 2014, though revised downward from an earlier projection.

Qualcomm Strikes Deal to Use NFC Technology from NXP; Drops In-House NFC Program

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Qualcomm, the largest supplier of processor chips for mobile phones globally, has made a deal to integrate NFC technology from NXP Semiconductors for its reference designs for OEMs featuring its Snapdragon processors.

Samsung Pay Head: Interest in Embedded Chips Grows for Payments and Nonpayments; eSE Won't be Limited to Samsung Pay

May 4 2015

NFC Times Exclusive –  Besides payments, Samsung is targeting nonpayment applications, and is seeing “growing interest” in its embedded chips, Samsung Pay director Victor Kim told NFC Times.

Gemalto CEO: TSM Revenue to Fall in 2015; Won't Pick Up Until Next Year, Likely with New Technologies

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou said revenue from the vendor’s trusted service management business fell in the first quarter and would stay down for the rest of the year, while indicating Gemalto is no longer seeing many TSM tenders from telcos.

Giesecke & Devrient, Oberthur Hit by Falling Prices, SIM Sales

Apr 30 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – Falling SIM card prices among other challenges have forced such major smart card and NFC vendors as Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur Technologies to restructure, though strong growth in shipments of EMV cards to Asia and the United States helped them record growth in overall revenue in 2014.

PayPal Doing NFC Trials, but Says It Will Not Rely Solely on NFC Technology

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – PayPal is trialing NFC mobile payments, CEO-designee Dan Schulman said during eBay’s first quarter earnings call, but the company continues to be cautious about embracing NFC.

Fourth U.S. Payments Network to Support Apple Pay; Discover Financial to Launch NFC Commercially after False Starts

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Payment network Discover Financial Services announced its support for Apple Pay on Monday, becoming the fourth major payment networks in the U.S. to join Apple Pay.

Broadcom Says Little About NFC in Q1 Earnings Call

Apr 23 2015

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – U.S.-based Broadcom reported continued growth for its connectivity segment during its first quarter 2015 earnings call, but made almost no mention of NFC.