South Korea: KT Launches NFC Services Commercially, Competitors Follow
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.
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.
N/A: Not available or not applicable. Last update: Nov. 2011