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NFC headed for the mainstream

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 14:20:24

The increasingly prevalent inclusion of Near Field Communication (NFC) chips in high end smartphones is leading to a push by UK network providers which will see contactless payments becoming much more common by the middle of 2011.

Orange and T-Mobile, which recently completed a merger deal, will be jumping on the NFC bandwagon and making sure that customers with any type of mobile will be able to enjoy the benefits of having a digital wallet with them for instant payments at all times.

To achieve this they will be integrating NFC chips into the SIM cards which every mobile user must install in order to access their mobile services. At the moment only the Google Nexus S actually has an onboard NFC chip and so by adding it to SIM cards, it will be possible for people with phones of all types to make payments, rather than those who are willing to shell out for a high end handset.

Significantly the networks will be looking to various retailers in order to make sure NFC terminals are set up in enough stores to make investing in an NFC-ready SIM or mobile worthwhile. By the summer of 2011 it has been announced that over 44,000 outlets will have NFC readers, with more to follow by the year's end.

Various firms will be getting involved in this drive, with high street retailers like the Co-operative sitting alongside fast food chains like McDonalds and EAT. This broad range of shops means that consumers are likely to become quickly acquainted with the basics of NFC payments and compatible SIM cards could be the way to make this as broadly available as possible.

Orange and T-Mobile have yet to ratify the plans for the roll-out of NFC technology, but it should only be a few months before millions are enjoying the benefits.




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