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NFC good news

Week 28, 2008

This announcement makes a statement that was missing in the NFC ecosystem: it is a proclamation mobile network operators and bankers want to agree on a business model. Or at least, it demonstrates a will to talk about it on a general basis. This decision will help ironing out relations between operators and bankers, in search of a mutually profitable business model. So far, telcos and bankers had agreed on a business model for pilots, but no global agreement had been found for a NFC global rollout. The agreement also defines the role of a Trusted Service Manager, already seen as a necessary third party in the operation of a NFC application.

The GSMA also attempts to structure its relation with handset vendors, and more globally all of its suppliers; the GSMA announced it was working on a preliminary set of minimum requirements for handsets containing Near Field Communications (NFC) chipsets.  An interpretation of these agreements could be the success of a European standardization approach: have organizations representing major players in each industry talk together, negotiate, and reach a common standard, as opposed to an American approach: let's launch several technologies and see what floats.

Another good news for NFC also came this week: the extension of the French Pegasus pilot for another six months. Pegasus is the only pilot involving all major mobile network operators, most of major banks, and several handset vendors, whereas most other pilots are limited to one operator, one bank, and one handset type. Returns from a customer study run with Pegasus trial participants is very positive with 90% of positive opinions.

These are good news, but they are not enough. Even if analysts anticipate impressive future adoption figures for NFC, we still need more handset types, and the whole industry is waiting for a nationwide NFC rollout with several mobile network operators, several banks, and a variety of applications.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights