buy metformin online

German Telcos Announce Plans for NFC Payment Joint Venture

Aug 18 2011 (All day)

German mobile operators Telekom Deutschland, Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Germany today announced an agreement to form a joint venture to expand their mpass mobile payment service to the physical point of sale using NFC technology.

As NFC Times reported in February, the three operators have been in talks to introduce their own payment scheme, branded mpass, at the physical point of sale in Germany using NFC phones. The telcos have operated mpass as a small payment scheme enabling their subscribers to make Internet purchases.

They believe their combined 90 million subscribers will give them the reach necessary to establish their brand in physical stores, including signing up enough merchants to accept the brand. 

Plans call for launching a prepaid mpass payment application in mobile wallets around mid-2012, using both NFC-enabled phones and passive stickers, a spokesman for Telekom Deutschland, or Deutsche Telekom, Germany’s largest telco, told NFC Times.

U.S. telcos Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA, which together have more than 200 million subscribers, formed a joint venture, Isis, last year, seeking to launch their own payment scheme, before later abandoning the idea and agreeing to support established U.S. payment brands, including Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide. But the German telcos are apparently undeterred by that.

“It’s a priority for us to have mpass in our mobile wallet,”  he said. “We will use this brand for mobile payment. We are absolutely sure we will have a strong brand.”

The German telcos would bypass German banks, working with established prepaid payment service providers, such as easycash GmbH. The telcos might later introduce higher-value debit applications, said the spokesman. 

The operators expect that their planned mobile wallets would accommodate other payment applications, including those from banks and supporting MasterCard and its PayPass contactless brand or Visa payWave. In NFC phones, when available, all of the secure applications would be stored on SIM cards the telcos issue, according to the plan.

But the telcos are still working out details of the contactless services they will offer and how they will offer them. They plan to have the JV formed by the end of the year. A press release today said the new company would focus on deployment of the payment services, including marketing and new product development.

“Aided by new technologies, such as Near Field Communication, users will soon be able to make simple, secure and wireless payments in high-street shops, too,” said the telcos.

“Payment by mobile phone will increasingly feature in our daily lives," said Michiel van Eldik, managing director of wholesale and partner management for Telefónica Germany, in a statement. “It has actually been possible for several years. And the first NFC smartphones with full functionality for all aspects of credit and bonus cards are already in the stores. I think that even as early as next year, consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home and paying by mobile phone instead.”

Under European Union regulations, telcos and other nonbanks can offer payment services under such legislation as the E-Money and Payment Services directives. Telefónica (O2) Germany’s sister operator, Telefónica (O2) UK, is applying for an e-money license. 

The spokesman for Telekom Deutschland, which is part of the Deutsche Telekom group, confirmed that the telco along with Vodafone and Telefónica plan to launch a trial by the end of the year in their respective headquarter cities, Bonn, Düsseldorf and Munich, using passive stickers. As NFC Times reported earlier, the operators and their partners would have to install new terminals at merchant locations for the trial, which would probably be held in October or November.

The spokesman said the telcos expect to use passive stickers to supplement the availability of NFC phones for years to come. 

“There are millions of phones in the market, and (for) a lot of people, we will see if they buy an NFC phone or, say, 'I only need a sticker,’ ” he said. “I think for the next two or three or four years, (there will be) a lot of stickers.”

Germany has few contactless point-of-sale terminals supporting any brand or application, including Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass, though that is starting to change.

Signing up enough merchants to accept mpass will be a major challenge for the telcos, as they try to get the mpass payment scheme off the ground at the physical point of sale. The Isis telcos had trouble enticing big merchants to accept their planned Isis brand. At the same time, lower debit interchange fees mandated by the U.S. Congress made the business case for launching payment less appealing.

Update: Martin Schurig, who has been senior product manager at Telefónica Germany in charge of the mpass Internet payment service, told NFC Times that the telcos have been discussing merchant recruitment. He declined to disclose details of the discussions, however.

“We do have some ideas for how we can ease this process for merchants,” he said. End update.

The German telcos would probably have to lower transaction fees to get a critical mass of merchants, said veteran German smart card industry executive and consultant Lutz Martiny.

“Forming mPass GmbH reduces at least the number of network providers and fosters probably that all three providers will come up with a standard user interface on their NFC phones,” he told NFC Times. “This would definitely be attractive to merchants, however, mPass GmbH has to be competitive with its transaction fees.”

Vodafone Germany, which is part of UK-based Vodafone Group, and Telefónica Germany, a branch of Spain-based Telefónica, launched mpass for e-commerce transactions in 2009, and Telekom Deutschland later joined.  Subscribers can use it to shop on their PCs and smartphones, confirming purchases via SMS. The telcos do not release transaction figures, but they are believed to be small.

But the telcos apparently are convinced NFC phones and stickers, along with their large base of subscribers, will help them overcome the barriers to launching their own payment brand.

“Within the mpass partnership, we are not only applying the specific benefits of mobile phones in the payment market, but, more importantly, we are bundling our customer reach with that of our partners," Christian Illek, director of marketing at Deutsche Telekom, said in a statement.

The Telekom Deutschland spokesman confirmed that the telco would delay the launch of its NFC-based mobile wallet until 2012, as it waits for more NFC phones and makes other preparations. The launch by Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile Poland branch is also delayed. The telco had announced in February plans to commercially launch NFC mobile wallets in both countries by the end of 2011, with further plans for launches in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic in 2012.

 

HEADLINE NEWS

Contactless Reader and NFC Vendor OTI Reports Higher Sales

Israel-based On Track Innovations reported new orders for its NFC and contactless readers in North America, along with the first shipments of its NFC-enabled Wave attachment, driving higher revenue, though the vendor’s quarterly losses continued.

Identiv Reports Higher Revenue; NFC a Key Driver

U.S.-based Identiv reported higher revenue and narrowed losses for the second quarter, predicting a breakeven or positive result by the end of the year, as the company’s restructuring program draws to a close.

Inside Sees First-Half Revenue Fall, but Says Strategic Shift on Track

Aug 5 2014 (All day)

France-based Inside Secure reported a 9% drop in revenue in the first half, which it blamed on the end of shipments of NFC chips to BlackBerry and lower sales of “legacy” EMV chips to Europe.

Westpac NZ Product Chief: HCE Offers Bank More Simplicity, Control

Aug 1 2014

NFC Times Exclusive: Westpac New Zealand’s product chief told NFC Times he believes host-card emulation will reduce costs and increase flexibility, while ensuring the bank can use its own branded wallet.

With HCE Threat Looming, Telcos and Their Trade Group Seek to Cut Cost and Complexity of SIM-Based NFC

NFC Times Exclusive: With interest in host-card emulation continuing to grow and SIM-based NFC rollouts in need of a boost, mobile operators and their global trade association, GSMA, are pushing for significant cuts in the cost and complexity of TSMs and lowering other hurdles that have discouraged service providers from provisioning their applications on SIM cards.

Broadcom Discusses Connectivity Chip Wins but Makes No Mention of NFC Following Q2 Results

U.S.-based Broadcom did not mention NFC in its recent conference call with analysts following release of its second quarter results, in which it announced cuts to its global workforce of 20% by exiting the baseband mobile processor business.

People on the Move: Group of Visa Vets Form Start-Up, Tapping NFC and BLE Technologies

A group of former top managers in Visa’s mobile program have formed a start-up that plans to use NFC and BLE to deliver coupons, rewards and other offers to consumers in stores, using the branded apps of retailers or other marketers.

Visa Offers New Details of Planned Tokenization Service

Visa Inc. has released a few more details of its planned tokenization service, which it announced last week as part of its Visa Digital Solutions “suite of offerings.”

Transport for London to Accept Bank Cards, NFC Phones on Underground, Other Transit Modes

Transport for London today announced it would launch acceptance for open-loop bank cards and other contactless payment on its heavily traveled London Underground and other modes of transit in September, while the UK’s largest mobile operator, EE, announced customers could begin to tap their NFC phones to pay fares at the same time.

Visa Announces Plans to Introduce Token Service as Part of Mobile Revamp

Jul 25 2014 (All day)

Visa Inc. announced Thursday it would launch a tokenization service in September, as part of what it calls its Visa Digital Solutions “suite of offerings.”

NXP Reports Higher NFC Sales, Offers No Hints on NFC-Enabled iPhone

Jul 30 2014 (All day)

NXP Semiconductors said sales in its emerging ID business–mainly made up of its NFC chips–increased by 22% in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter, and CEO Richard Clemmer insisted the chip maker’s secure element business would continue to remain a strong contributor.

Westpac New Zealand Launches HCE Trial, Snubbing Country's Planned TSM Platform

Westpac New Zealand has announced a small trial of host-card emulation-based payments, with plans to introduce the technology to customers early next year.