NFC gains foothold, with 1M handsets sold in France

Pioneering efforts by the four main French operators have seen over one million NFC-enabled handsets sold in less than two years, making France the European leader in mobile contactless services.

More than one million NFC-enabled phones are now in use in France.

The Cityzi NFC service, first launch in Nice in 2010, is said to be six months late in reaching this milestone target, according to a report in the French newspaper La Tribune, but operators are confident they can ramp this number to around 2.5 million NFC handsets in use by the end of this year.

The adoption of Cityzi services will be boosted by the 14 handsets that now support NFC technology including the popular Galaxy S II and Sony Xperia S, according to the Association Francaise du Sans Contact Mobile (AFSCM). .

"Today, almost all handset manufacturers offer one or more devices that are compatible with Cityzi services on a variety of operating systems," the AFSCM said in a statement.

Additionally, the Cityzi service is increasingly being used by some operators--with the support of several large banks--to launch dedicated services to their subscribers. The AFSCM also points to France Telecom Orange's launch of projects to provide contactless ticketing at Stade de France and Roland Garros in Paris as well as Toulouse International Airport.

Cityzi is being deployed in 10 French cities as Bouygues Telecom, NRJ Mobile, FT Orange and SFR become more confident that a growing portfolio of handsets supporting NFC is set to launch. However, while "being on track for mass deployment," the operators warn that consumer adoption requires NFC terminals and readers to be widely installed in shops and transport hubs.

For more:
- see this AFSCM statement (PDF)
- see this La Tribune article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Business Mobile Fr article (translated via Google Translate)

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