Mobile industry global trade group the GSM Association is calling for full Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality to be implemented into most upcoming mobile phones to help drive contactless pay-by-mobile systems.
Speaking at the Asia Mobile event in Macau, China, the GSMA highlighted the success of several trials between operators and mobile manufacturers around the world using NFC-enabled handsets as easy payment devices, including O2 and Nokia in the UK.
The GSMA said that trials are underway across eight countries involving nine operators as part of the organisation's Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative, with further pilots planned across 14 countries by 15 mobile operators.
"There is a huge latent demand for a large variety of mobile transaction services, of which there is universal interest in proximity payments, as trials across the world have already shown," said Rob Conway, chief executive of the GSMA.
"We are committed to ensuring that mobile payment services are delivered as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. But this will require device manufacturers to make sure that the vast majority of commercially available handsets incorporate the Single Wire Protocol and Near Field Communications features as standard."
The Single Wire Protocol standard is endorsed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, and provides the interface between the SIM card and the embedded NFC chipset within the handset.
Conway highlighted the success of other large-scale trials in Taiwan, France and Korea where satisfaction levels reported by participants were above 85 per cent and over 90 per cent in many cases. In all cases the vast majority considered the service secure and would recommend it to friends and family.
Mung-Ki Woo, vice president of payment and contactless at Orange, said: " Orange has run trials in France, Spain and the UK which show a consistent appeal to consumers in all countries for SIM-based, operator managed, mobile NFC services.
"For Orange, mass deployment is now mainly dependent on handset manufacturers providing a large range of adequate handsets."
In July the GSMA issued a detailed Device Requirement document to a wide range of mobile vendors and suppliers.
"As one of the first operators to trial mobile payments, we have seen first hand the willingness of consumers to adapt to this new payment channel, which is very much dependent on the availability of NFC handsets and the associated ecosystem," said Kris Rinne, senior vice president of architecture and planning at AT&T.
"We hope that the GSMA's delivery of a consolidated set of minimum requirements will accelerate the worldwide delivery of NFC-enabled handsets to the market."
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