Japan’s rollout of phones and tablets supporting standard NFC technology has topped the 20 million mark, with Japan’s three major mobile operators deploying the handsets with NFC chips along with domestic FeliCa technology. But Japanese consumers still have few places to use the hybrid devices.
Japan’s three major mobile operators had sold nearly 14 million standard NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets as of January, according to the Mobile NFC Association, as the country continues to be among the leaders in rolling out NFC-enabled phones and SIMs. There are still few places to use the NFC devices in Japan, however.
NFC Times Exclusive: As 2014 unfolds, the NFC ecosystem appears as unsettled as ever, with embedded secure chips expected to compete with NFC SIMs in several markets to store applications, and Google throwing its weight behind an alternative that could eventually enable service providers to avoid secure elements altogether.
Japanese mobile operators KDDI and Softbank Mobile have launched an NFC couponing service in a popular Korean district of Tokyo, implemented by an affiliate of South Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom.
Japan is continuing its transition to standard NFC, with plans by large acquirers to deploy more than 400,000 point-of-sale terminals supporting MasterCard PayPass and confirmation by the No. 3 mobile operator that it has hired an outside trusted service manager as it prepares to introduce NFC services.
SIM manufacturers shipped 30 million NFC SIM cards in 2012, 70% of them to mobile operators in South Korea and Japan, with Europe beginning to ramp up, the SIMalliance trade association said today in announcing its global SIM shipment figures for the year.
Japan’s largest telco, NTT DoCoMo, has begun to make a key piece of its strategy for NFC known, announcing deals with MasterCard Worldwide and South Korea’s KT Corp. to enable subscribers to make payments when they roam in other countries.
Japan Airlines next month is expected to launch what is believed to be the first commercial service worldwide enabling passengers to tap standard NFC phones to pass through boarding gates, NFC Times has learned.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Australia’s AMP Bank said it chose to launch mobile-payments with host-card emulation over other NFC technologies because of the “wider reach” the technology offers, since it’s “available to all NFC-enabled Android mobile phones running KitKat or later,” the bank’s director digital, Michael Weeding, told NFC Times.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – New Zealand joint venture Semble has launched its SIM-based NFC mobile wallet, after delays and the decision by of two of the country’s big four banks to launch mobile payments from their own apps using host-card emulation.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Another major New Zealand bank has announced plans to launch NFC payments with host-card emulation, snubbing a joint venture set up to launch SIM-based NFC on the island nation.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Windows 10 for phones, set to be released later this year, will support host card emulation, or HCE, based NFC payments, Microsoft revealed at a recent Windows event in China.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight –Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient confirmed it is providing the host-card emulation technology for Commonwealth Bank’s commercial HCE launch this month of Tap & Pay from the bank’s Android-based mobile-banking app.
Identiv CEO Jason Hart sounded optimistic tones about the company’s NFC tag business, particularly in “Internet of Things” applications or tags for consumer goods, during a conference call last week to discuss Identiv’s fourth quarter and full year 2014 earnings, but investors responded with less optimism.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – France-based Gemalto, which is keen to take the spotlight off its SIM business, projects EMV cards to represent perhaps the largest expected source of revenue growth in the coming year.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – UPDATED: Mobile point-of-sale device supplier Square has acquired payment processing component vendor Kili Technology, the same vendor that purchased NFC accessory vendor DeviceFidelity in November, but Square does not plan to keep DeviceFidelity, a source connected with Square told NFC Times.
NFC Times Exclusive –NFC Times has learned new details about how Samsung intends to make money from its planned payments service, Samsung Pay; as well as the technology architecture the OEM will use and the identity of two unannounced banks, along with a new category of issuer that is planning to participate.