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Norway’s Largest Telco and Bank to Launch NFC Commercially

Norway’s largest mobile operator and its biggest bank plan to announce plans next week to commercially launch NFC payments, NFC Times has learned.

Telco Telenor and DNB plan to launch the service in the summer, a representative from the bank confirmed to NFC Times. An announcement is expected at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The telco and bank in 2008 formed a trusted service manager unit as part of their earlier joint venture, gearing up for what they thought would be an “imminent launch of (NFC) payments.”

They held a small trial, “Tap2Pay,” during the summer of 2011, with 250 joint customers and about a dozen merchants in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. The parties held an earlier trial in 2009.

Both trials used a MasterCard PayPass application. But for the commercial launch this summer, DNB will issue a Visa payWave payment application, which will be loaded onto Telenor NFC SIM cards.

The Telenor-DNB joint venture will not provide its own TSM services, and instead France-based Gemalto will serve as TSM for the launch. Taiwan-based Toro Development will provide the mobile wallet. Toro, which is also providing the mobile wallet for an NFC commercial launch last fall by T-Mobile Poland, recently announced it opened a European R&D and delivery center in Barcelona.

It’s not clear yet what NFC applications beyond payment will be available to consumers next summer.

Telenor, in an announcement last March, said it planned to follow up the 2011 Tap2Pay trial with “real NFC services” for consumers and merchants in 2013. It said the “solution will have more functionality than the Tap2Pay pilot and will include payment cards, loyalty cards and tickets. The solution will be scalable and can be further developed as the market matures.”

There still are few active contactless point-of-sale terminals in Norway, however. Telenor acknowledged in its announcement last year that “it will take some time before NFC-based services are available to the mass market in Norway.”

The telco added that it would use its SIM card to store the secure NFC applications for the Tap2Pay project, but noted that it was “ready to take a multioperator and a multiservice approach to rollouts.

“Mass market adoption is the goal, and that is unlikely to happen if there is only one mobile operator or one bank who delivers the NFC services,” said the telco.

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