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NFC puzzle pieces come together

Week 18, 2009

This announcement is strongly supported by the GSM Association, which represents mobile network operators. By putting more value in the SIM card, this movement gives more value added and more control to the mobile network operators. Of course, this is beneficial for supporters of the mobile network operators the SIM card industry.

Besides Nokia’s announcement, we know that Sagem, NEC, LG have distributed pre release NFC handsets. And, everyone informed in the industry anticipates major Korean handset vendors will announce commercial launch of NFC handsets late this year.

So, the handset piece of the NFC puzzle is in place. Other pieces such as the NFC chip, the NFC enabled SIM, the Trusted Service Manager role, … are ready to be put together. However, we still miss a few pieces in the NFC puzzle: on-field payment infrastructure is not ready yet. Commitments of mass deployment of contactless payment terminals only happen in few places: North America, Malaysia, … And in spite of lots of creativity in the field of non-payment NFC applications, we have not witnessed yet an extensive deployment of NFC tags in smart posters, or other non payment fields.

The NFC industry has been though great steps forward, but it still needs to mature. The best indication comes from the WIMA Conference: this year, when the conference was split between a Technical track and a Business track, the business track was relegated in a smaller conference room in a second basement floor. We will know the NFC industry is mature when technical points when technology will be taken for granted, and the business track will be given the main conference room!

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief editor

Smart Insights