GSMA calls for more NFC handsets

The GSM Association (GSMA) has called for full NFC functionality - including the ETSI standard Single Wire Protocol (SWP) interface - to be built into commercially available handsets from mid 2009.

From its board meeting in Macau, China, the GSMA said this would allow customers to reap the benefits of mobile payment services as soon as possible. 

The GSMA stressed that it endorses SWP to provide the interface between the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC, or SIM card) and the embedded NFC chipset within the handset.

The NFC chip can communicate with existing contactless readers to deliver a range of secure, interoperable and transparent services, such as credit and debit payments.

A series of operator trials - under the GSMA's Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative - have demonstrated that consumers can use UICC-based NFC handsets easily to pay for goods and services in shops, restaurants and train stations.

This call for handsets is supported by recent operator trial results, which indicate a growing consumer demand for mobile payment services.  Trials are underway across eight countries involving nine mobile operators as part of the Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative. More pilots are planned across 14 countries by 15 mobile operators.

In Taiwan, in a trial of over 200 users, FarEasTone found that 90% of people felt positive toward to this new service.  80% of people were satisfied that the service is secure, and 40% said they would switch their monthly spending to a mobile credit card service.

Seven banks and four mobile operators - including Orange and SFR - involved in the Payez Mobile trial in France have announced the results of trials conducted with almost 500 sales outlets and nearly 1000 triallists. Over 90% of triallists said they found contactless mobile payment convenient, fast, and easy to use. 

In addition, 94% declared that they would recommend it to their friends and family.  Over 80% of merchants said they liked the

The GSMA has published two white papers on, one of which sets out several business models that can support a mobile payment service and one of which sets out version two of the GSMA's technical guidelines for NFC.