ZTE: Europe is Next Target for NFC Phones
China-based phone maker ZTE indicated it will be targeting Europe with its NFC phones, although it did not specify models or release dates.
ZTE made the statement today as part of an announcement of its low-end Racer II Android phone being used as part of an NFC wallet rollout in Turkey.
Turkey’s largest mobile operator, Turkcell, announced it was using the NFC-enabled ZTE model months ago, having put it on sale in January. It slapped its own brand on the NFC version of the Racer II, calling it the T11. The phone followed Turkcell’s self-branded T20 Android NFC phone, from another Chinese handset maker, Huawei, which the telco introduced last year.
The T20 and T11 are among at least four phones supporting NFC applications on SIM cards Turkcell issues for its NFC mobile wallet, Cep-T Cüzdan.
ZTE in its announcement today called the Turkcell phone the first SIM-based NFC phone worldwide supporting both banking and toll-collection applications.
Turkcell in January said the ZTE phone would be its first NFC handset supporting Turkey’s contactless toll-collection system, KGS, which enables users to tap to pay tolls at bridges and highways in Istanbul and around Turkey, using Mifare technology.
Turkcell’s NFC SIMs and phones also support MasterCard PayPass payment applications from four issuers, Yapı Kredi, Garanti Bank, Akbank and, most recently, Denizbank.
It’s unclear why ZTE decided to promote use of its low-end Racer II for NFC four months after the launch of the NFC version of the phone in Turkey.
But ZTE, which ranked as the fourth largest supplier of mobile phones worldwide in the fourth quarter, according to U.S.-based research firm Gartner, could be gearing up to push NFC more broadly soon.
“Our next target is Europe, and the product we offer with Turkcell has already seen strong success,” Kan Yulun, vice president and chief technology officer for ZTE said in a statement.
ZTE at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year announced NFC support for higher-end Android phones, the PF200 and Blade II, reportedly along with the ZTE Kis. None of the phones has yet been released, and the Blade II and perhaps the others could support NFC only as a carrier-ordered option.
Also at the Mobile World Congress in February, ZTE announced a forthcoming “Touch and Share” feature for its NFC phones, which uses NFC to pair devices more quickly via Bluetooth or WiFi.