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South Korea: KT Launches NFC Services Commercially, Competitors Follow

Seoul, South Korea
Scope: 
Rollout
Launch: 
Oct 2010
Main Application: 
Payment, transit (ticketing)
Mobile Operator: 
KT
Mobile Operator: 
SK Telecom
Mobile Operator: 
LG U+
Service Provider (application): 
Korea Smart Card Co. (T-money)
Service Provider (application): 
Shinhan Card (payWave or PayPass)
Service Provider (application): 
Hana Card (payWave or PayPass)
Merchants: 
300,000 terminals (credit payment), 8,000-plus convenience stores and 20,000-plus vending machines (T-money)
Users: 
2 million SIMs distributed by KT alone
NFC Handsets: 
Samsung SHW-A170K
NFC Handsets: 
Samsung Galaxy S II
NFC Handsets: 
Pantech Vega Racer
NFC Handsets: 
Vega No.5
NFC Handsets: 
LG Optimus LTE
NFC Handsets: 
KM-S220 (KT Tech)
TSM*: 
N/A
Secure Element: 
SIM
Other Vendors: 
KEBTechnology (SIM, for KT, LT U+), Solacia, formerly Smart Card Laboratory (SIM), Gemalto (SIM)

KT, which last year merged with KTF, South Korea's No. 2 mobile operator, can lay claim to the first commercial launch of NFC, using standard NFC phones and high-capacity SIMs. These would replace the nonstandard contactless SIM cards the telco and competitor SK Telecom has been using for nearly three years. As with the dual-interface SIMs the telcos used, the new SIMs carry the popular T-money transit application for the capital, Seoul, along with as yet little-used mobile-credit card applications, a membership-loyalty program and mobile-banking services that enable subscribers to make contactless withdrawals from ATMs and to trade stock. The SIMs were also to pack high memory, which could enable subscribers to download premium videos, games and other content. KT also plans to use NFC's reader mode for, among other things, enabling remote merchants to use their phones as mobile point of sales terminals.

NFC Times Take: 

KT had always been more interested in standard NFC than its chief rival, SK Telecom, which pushed hardest to develop the proprietary dual-interface SIM technology Korea's major telcos use for payment, ticketing, loyalty, banking and stock trading. As of November 2011, KT had distributed 2 million NFC-enabled SIM cards and sold more than 1 million NFC phones, mostly the Samsung Galaxy S II. Chief rival SK Telecom, as well as LG U+ later followed with NFC launches. 

 

 

 

* 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. 2011

 

 

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