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Australia: Vodafone Announces Plans for NFC Service; But Still Trialing Technology

Sydney, Australia
Scope: 
Trial
Launch: 
Nov 2012
Main Application: 
Payment
Mobile Operator: 
Vodafone Hutchison Australia
Service Provider (application): 
ANZ bank (Visa payWave)
Merchants: 
100,000-plus payWave terminals in Australia, others elsewhere
Users: 
101 employees of Vodafone and Visa
NFC Handsets: 
Samsung Galaxy S III
TSM*: 
N/A
Secure Element: 
SIM
Other Vendors: 
Visa Inc. (payWave application), Gemalto (NFC SIM cards), Rev (prepaid payment processing), NXP Semiconductors (NFC phone chip)

Trial is a prelude to a commercial launch, that might begin next year, according to Vodafone. The telco is putting a prepaid payment application issued by ANZ bank on NFC SIMs the telco issues. The operator plans to offer its NFC-enabled SmartPass app, which is expected to be available for Android and Windows Phone 8 devices. There would likely be other applications available, though Vodafone is not commenting on that. Users will be able to tap to pay where Visa payWave is accepted, without entering a PIN or signing a receipt. Subscribers would be able to fund the card with other Visa- or MasterCard-branded accounts. 

NFC Times Take: 

Vodafone is the first mobile operator in Australia to disclose plans for a commercial NFC payment launch, though it has not announced a target date for when it plans to launch the service. The service is expected to begin sometime in 2013, however. Thomas Roets, general manager of strategy, planning and business development for the operator, predicted that 80% of new smartphones Vodafone sells in 2013 to postpaid subscribers will be NFC-enabled. He reportedly said these will mainly be Android and Windows Phone 8 phones. Australia is seen as a contactless hot spot and promising market for the launch of NFC payment services. There are more than 100,000 contactless terminals in Australia that support Visa payWave, according to Vodafone and Visa, which gives Australia one of the highest penetrations of contactless terminals worldwide. All or most of the same terminals would support MasterCard PayPass, as well.

* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.
N/A: Not available or not applicable.
 
Last update: Nov. 2012

 

 

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