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.
While he announced that U.S. mobile operator Sprint will introduce more than 10 additional NFC phones supporting the Google Wallet this year, Osama Bedier, who heads the wallet program at Google, revealed few other details about how the Web giant plans to boost the wallet’s market presence.
Samsung Electronics has confirmed it has an NFC version of its Galaxy Note, though that comes as no surprise to operators in South Korea, which have been selling the tablet-smartphone hybrid with NFC inside for about two months.
While mobile operators in most other countries are still struggling to roll out even scant volumes of NFC phones that can do payment, ticketing and other applications, South Korea’s telcos have already crossed the 5 million-phone mark–including NFC versions of such high-profile devices as the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note.
2012 was going to be the year that the new era of NFC-based mobile commerce had finally arrived–with Google Wallet rolling out widely, mobile operators in the U.S. and Europe making significant inroads with their own mobile wallets and big Asian m-commerce players generally commercializing NFC, as well.
The major Japanese and South Korean mobile operators in separate announcements today revealed details for planned cross-border NFC services–signaling the move by the telcos away from domestic contactless-mobile technology to standard NFC.
NFC Times Exclusive – Samsung’s NFC payments platform, Samsung Pay, is due to launch in the summer in the U.S. and South Korea. But it’s not the only payments service planned for Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6.
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.