O2 calls upon rivals to help NFC m-payments succeed

Having spent the effort conducting a trial of NFC-enabled handsets, O2 is now calling upon other cell phone operators to lead an industry taskforce to ensure the rapid uptake of m-commerce services.

This proposal of bringing together industry rivals -- and this not only includes mobile operators, but retailers, banks and transport firms -- is to enable mobile payments across a widespread number of outlets and services with the infrastructure and deployment costs being shared accordingly.

The six-month O2 Wallet trial involved 500 of its subscribers using an NFC-enabled Nokia 6131 to use London Transport via a built in Oyster card and make small store payments with Barclaycard and Visa. The company is now keen that commercial deployment takes place by 2012, coinciding with the London Olympics.

O2's head of NFC, Claire Maslen, said, "To make this a reality we need to work across industries with a shared vision of future commercial services."

M-payments have been deployed in Japan for some years with a reasonable level of success, especially on transport systems. However, the number of cell phone users making small retail purchases remain low.

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