NFC ecosystem players are moving to simplify the costly and complex process for putting payment applications on secure elements, as they face mounting frustration at the pace of rollouts–and growing threats from such alternatives as host-card emulation.
NFC Times Exclusive: France’s Bouygues Telecom, a pioneer in the NFC ecosystem, has frozen its NFC program, just months before the French market plans to roll out the technology nationally, NFC Times has learned.
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.
Chris Bierbaum, who played a role in early development of the U.S. telco joint venture that would become Isis, has left Sprint as head of mobile commerce to lead mobile initiatives globally for UK-based directories and Internet services company hibü.
France Telecom-Orange and China Mobile, the largest mobile operators in their respective home markets, have signed a memo of understanding to work together to speed the commercialization of NFC SIM cards.
French mobile operators have announced they will more than double the number of NFC-enabled phones rolled out to subscribers by the end of 2012, to 2.5 million, the most of any country in Europe, they predict.
Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient was no doubt glad to close the books on 2013, a year in which it saw substantial job cuts and changes in management and–as it reported Wednesday–lower sales and profitability.
France-based Inside Secure has acquired encryption and software security company Metaforic in a cash deal worth at least $11.6 million, which Inside Secure says will help equip it to offer security services for host-card emulation-based mobile payments.
Inside Secure is selling its next generation NFC controller technology to chip maker Intel, as well as an expanded license, for $19.2 million, though will keep most of its NFC patents and embedded chip technology.
In the first full year since a takeover ousted former CEO and co-founder Oded Bashan, Israel-based NFC and contactless company On Track Innovations showed some progress in its efforts to turn around the chronically unprofitable company, in part by focusing on sales of contactless point-of-sale terminals.
A second of Australia’s big four banks, Westpac Banking Corp., said it will finally be ready to launch its long-planned NFC contactless payments service with Visa using embedded chips in Samsung phones by the end of April, the bank told NFC Times.
NFC Times Exclusive: Mobile network operators will take delivery of at least two-thirds more NFC SIMs this year than in 2013, predicts operator trade association, the GSMA, though the impact of host-card emulation remains to be seen.
The NFC Forum has issued a statement of support for host-card emulation at its all-member meeting this week in San Francisco, calling HCE a “promising addition to the portfolio of NFC solutions that could potentially accelerate market growth.”
NFC Times Exclusive: Tenders are due tomorrow from vendors in response to a request for proposal for Taiwan’s second planned centralized trusted service management platform–this one from Taiwanese banking groups, which formed a mobile-payments joint venture late last month.