Analyst iSuppli is predicting major growth in mobile phone payments in 2011 thanks to increasing support for near field communications (NFC) technology from key players such as Nokia and Google.
The analyst firm predicts that mobile handset shipments will rise to 220.1 million units by 2014, of which 13 per cent will feature NFC software capable of supporting mobile transactions.
“Imagine paying your bus fare, buying a plane ticket or making an ATM/credit card purchase simply by holding your cell phone near a wireless terminal,” said Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for communications and consumer electronics at iSuppli.
“This is the mobile payment revolution on the verge of being unleashed by NFC technology.”
Nokia and Google have both announced plans to support NFC. Nokia has said that it will add the software to its smartphones in 2011, while Google has included support for NFC in its Android 2.3 OS and the soon-to-be-released Nexus S handset.
Elsewhere, Broadcom has announced a low-priced processor for Android handsets that enables NFC comms.
While next year will see the first rumblings of an NFC-powered payments revolution, it is 2012 that will be the key year for the technology, according to Rebello.
“We believe that 2012 will be the make-or-break year for NFC,” he said. “With all the ongoing and planned NFC trials in different regions of the world… it is imperative that business models be established that allow each of the nodes to see value in offering the service.”
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