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French Telcos Delay National NFC Rollouts; Vendors Blamed, in Part, for Interoperability Problems

NFC Times Exclusive: French mobile operators are delaying their nationwide rollout, citing interoperability problems among TSMs and SIMs provided by different vendors, among other issues, NFC Times has learned.

The French telcos, led by Orange, were planning a launch this fall with two banks. While France-based Orange Group’s top NFC official, Thierry Millet, said he believes there could be some services launched nationally in France at the beginning of 2014, he acknowledged that the launch is delayed for about six months.

“The critical mass on the market with several national launches, it’s going to be 2014,” Millet told NFC Times. “We had hoped we could see that trend for this year. The fact is, it’s going six months later.”

Millet, who is vice president of mobile payments and NFC at Orange Group, said during a presentation last week at the NFC World Congress in Nice, France, that the telco remains “very committed to the success of NFC” and will continue devoting ample resources to make it happen. Orange, he said, however, would be taking a more “staged” approach to rolling out NFC services. This could include moving forward on a city-by-city basis, as the French telcos have done in the past.

The delay in France, where telcos, banks and vendors have worked for years on interoperability, in addition to implementation problems in other markets, is adding even more fuel to the drive to reduce complexity of TSMs and the rest of the NFC ecosystem. Among the initiatives drawing interest is the end-to-end simplified framework, being spearheaded by MasterCard Worldwide within the GlobalPlatform standardization organization. 

In this article:

Words: 2,000 

Among Topics Covered:
•Interoperability problems among SP-TSMs, SEi-TSMs and NFC SIMs from different vendors
•Problems scaling NFC with TSMs
•French NFC market conditions
•GlobalPlatform’s end-to-end simplified framework

Sources Quoted:
•Thierry Millet, vice president of mobile payments and NFC, Orange Group
• François-Xavier Godron, director of NFC, Orange France
• Bruno Prexl, global head of digital payments, BNP Paribas
•Winston Yeo, vice president for mobile financial services, Gemalto

Among companies and organizations mentioned:
Orange
SFR
Bouygues Telecom
BNP Paribas
Crédit Mutuel-CIC
Gemalto
Oberthur Technologies
Société Générale
Orange Business Services
NRJ Mobile 

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