French Make it Official With Nice NFC Launch

May 27 2010

Organizers of France’s “precommercial” launch of Near Field Communication services in Nice have made it official, kicking off what they say is the first project of its kind in Europe and a “rehearsal” for a national rollout of NFC next year in France.

The government-backed Nice project, which involves four mobile operators, at least two banks and the city’s transit operator, will enable subscribers to tap their phones to pay fares for buses and trams, make purchases in some stores and tap smart posters for updated transit schedules and tourist information. NFC-based student services at the nearby University of Nice Sophia Antipolis will also be available.

The four mobile operators, Orange-France, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, will put around 4,000 NFC phones on sale to subscribers in Nice initially. The phones will be the NFC version of the popular, though sub-3G, touch-screen phone, the Samsung (S5230) Player One. The phone, nicknamed the Player One “cityzi” for this project, will store secure applications in SIM cards the telcos issue with a standard connection to NFC chips in the phones. Cityzi is the brand and acceptance mark organizers have chosen for NFC in France.

Organizers, which officially launched the project Friday, see it as a prelude to a national rollout, which could begin in the Paris region, where transit authority STIF has committed to rolling out NFC-based transit ticketing in 2011.

But in announcing the Nice launch, French mobile operator group Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, or AFSCM, has volunteered a projection that only about 500,000 subscribers could be equipped with NFC cityzi phones by the end of 2011.

Besides paying bus and tram fares, subscribers will be able to buy transit tickets over the air, including making purchases of up to 10 euros (US$12.40) directly from their operators, which will put the charges on the subscribers’ phone bills.

Retail payment is also part of the launch, although merchant acceptance is limited for now and only two banks have publicized plans for participation so far. Others are expected to follow later in the year.

One of those two banks is BNP Paribas, which announced Friday it would be issuing 5,000 contactless EMV cards to customers in Nice and will also make its “KIX” mobile-payment application available. The cards and phone payment service will support the Visa payWave contactless application.

For the phone application, customers must enter a “private code” on their handset keypads before completing a purchase. But for purchases below 20 euros, they could choose not to enter the PIN, the bank noted.

BNP is referring to both the contactless cards and NFC phone application as “trial offers,” not precommercial launches, involving 43 of its branches in and around Nice. It will begin to promote the project in June.

Customers with NFC phones will need to activate the payment applications preloaded on their SIM cards in bank branches, according to an announcement Friday by France-based Gemalto, which confirmed it is serving as trusted service manager, or TSM, for Crédit Mutuel-CIC bank. The bank is an owner of NRJ Mobile, which is a mobile virtual network operator.

Unlike with BNP Paribas, customers of Crédit Mutuel-CIC will be able to buy the NFC phones in their bank branches, not only in mobile shops, according to the Gemalto release.

Gemalto also announced Friday it will serve as TSM for operator Orange France. TSMs generally download and manage applications over the air to NFC phones.

UPDATE: France-based Oberthur Technologies is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources, as well as for telcos SFR and Bouygues. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The story earlier indicated that Gemalto and Oberthur were both serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel-CIC. The story should have stated Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel and Oberthur for BNP Paribas. See project page.)   

Article comments

 
Yves May 25 2010

Dan, who is providing TSM services for Crédit Mutuel, Gemalto or Oberthur ?

Dan Balaban's picture
Dan Balaban May 27 2010

Yves,
Gemalto is serving as TSM for Crédit Mutuel. The story should have read that Oberthur is serving as TSM for BNP Paribas, according to sources. Thanks for the question to clear up this point.

 
VAS2010 Jun 1 2010

Nice news)
Dan, will you show us statistic later?

Please register or login to post a comment.

HEADLINE NEWS

Brussels Latest European Capital to Launch Open-Loop Fare Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Major Brussels transit operator STIB-MIVB plans to begin accepting contactless EMV credit and debit cards and NFC wallets on Wednesday, the latest European capital to launch open-loop payments following the success of the technology as demonstrated in London.

In-Depth: Boston Transit Agency Seeks to Put Massive Fare-Collection Project Back on Track

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – The massive new fare-collection system planned by Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, which will include open-loop contactless payments and an expanded closed-loop program, has had trouble getting off the ground. Late last week, the transit agency finalized its “reset” of the project, agreeing to increase the contract by nearly 30% to just over $935 million and to add two more years to the rollout schedule–all in hopes of getting the project back on track.

With E-Commerce Skyrocketing, Tokenized Transactions Expected to Soar, as Well

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As more consumers buy online, and to a lesser extent use mobile wallets for in-store purchases, because of the coronavirus pandemic, tokenized card transactions are expected to increase dramatically.  

Software-as-Service Platforms for Transit Agencies Begin to Support Open-Loop Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In what is believed to be a first, a transit agency in Europe plans to accept contactless credit and debit cards using a third-party software-as-a-service platform this summer, UK-based platform provider Masabi told NFC Times, although the company declined to name the agency. The project is expected to begin as a pilot.

Apple Launches Overdue Octopus Payments Service in Hong Kong, as It Continues to Seek More Transit Applications for Wallet

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Apple today finally launched its Octopus transit payments service in Hong Kong on Apple Pay, nearly a year after the service was originally announced and more than two years after rival Samsung introduced a similar service in the market.

Mastercard: Contactless Payments in Europe Approach 80% of Card Transactions; Pandemic Causes More Consumers to Shun Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While contactless payments in Europe were already commonplace and continue to grow, the Covid-19 pandemic has created even more interest in the technology among consumers, according to a report released Thursday by Mastercard. The report includes a survey showing that consumers in eight major European markets say they use NFC-enabled smartphones and wearables for a combined 32% of all contactless transactions, a spokeswoman confirmed to NFC Times.

UPDATED: Ohio-Based Transit Agency Group Planning to Enable Mobile Ticketing Through Uber App

Jun 3 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A consortium of 13 small and mid-tier transit agencies in Ohio and Northern Kentucky plans to enable customers to buy public transit tickets directly in the Uber app as early as this summer, following two other U.S. transit agencies, in Denver and Las Vegas, which have already integrated with Uber.

Samsung Details Planned Mobile-Money Service as It Seeks to Keep Pace with Rival Apple Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung offered more details today about its Samsung Money debit card and “mobile-first” money management service for its Samsung Pay app, which it plans to launch in the U.S. this summer with personal finance fintech SoFi. Samsung had disclosed plans for the new service earlier this month.

Networks: Contactless Transactions Soar as Pandemic Takes Toll on Cash

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In announcing their respective quarterly results this week, both Visa and Mastercard, as expected, discussed the major disruption that Covid-19 is wreaking on the payments business. But they also noted that there is one unexpected victim of the pandemic: cash.

Prompted by Pandemic Fears, Last of Australia’s Big Four Banks Ends Apple Pay Holdout

May 12 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Citing the increased demand for cashless payments because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Westpac today became the last of Australia’s big four banks to adopt Apple Pay, ending a four-year holdout that had lasted months, even years longer than its major rivals.

Insight: MaaS Backers Believe New Mobility Platforms Could Help Transit Providers Win Back Their Customers’ Trust

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – With Covid-19 lockdowns causing mass transit ridership in many cities to virtually fall off a cliff–with such cities as London, New York and San Francisco reporting drops of more than 90%–transport providers worry that some riders may not come back, even after the pandemic ends.

In-Depth: Government Regulation of Mobility-as-a-Service Seen as Necessary to Encourage Widespread Adoption

Apr 16 2020

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Government legislation will likely be needed for widespread adoption of Mobility-as-a-Service, or MaaS, to occur, according to UK-based Juniper Research, which believes that the regulations will be necessary to force MaaS providers, including transit service providers, to work together, as well as to persuade users to get out of their cars to cut carbon emissions.