O2 has accused smartphone manufacturers of hampering near-field communication (NFC) payment adoption in Europe, by failing to design their smartphones to be compliant with Visa standards.
O2 strategy and business development director Tomas Masar accused phone makers such as Samsung and Sony of dragging their heels when it came to adding NFC integration to their phones, during a press keynote attended by V3.
He said: "Mainstream support is probably the biggest problem for NFC adoption. Manufacturers have been talking about NFC for the last five years, but in general they haven't been loading it into all their phones and even if they have it hasn't been certified, meaning Visa applications don't run on them."
Masar said the lack of compliance has made it so that carriers have been unable to load their custom NFC payment services, such as O2 Wallet, onto the majority of NFC-enabled smartphones. "So if you get the phone it's not necessarily enabled. We need to work with the producers to be compliant and make it so when they test the firmware it actually works. Hopefully as the infrastructure grows they'll learn to make their devices compliant," Masar said.
He added that the firm will also need support from banks and other carriers to increase widespread mobile payment adoption in Europe. "It's in our interest for all banks and providers to offer these services. It's cumbersome if only one network or bank offers the support."
He said that if banks and mobile networks were to co-operate, industry would become interested in the potential benefits of mobile payments. "It's about handsets and getting the infrastructure for them. If you don't have the infrastructure, the manufacturers won't load the technology onto the handsets," he said.
Visa's head of mobile business Sandra Alzetta said the firm has already moved to address these issues, striking strategic deals with "key players" in the mobile market to increase interest in creating and supporting compliant NFC-enabled devices. The move includes deals with big-name companies including O2 and Samsung.
Prior to Masar's comments Alzetta reported expectations that the deals will lead to a marked boom in European mobile payments, predicting that half of all Visa transactions will be made via mobile by the end of 2020.
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