Mobile payment services in Europe are starting to gain further momentum with news that Apple's iPhone is being used for a commercial service in Turkey, while LG has confirmed it is conducting trials of handsets with NFC-based technology.
This follows the announcement last week from Orange that it had partnered with Barclaycard to launch the UK's first mobile wallet service by early this summer.
In the Turkish deployment, Visa Europe and the Turkish bank Yapi Kredi are offering a mobile payment solution called iCarte to iPhone customers on the country's largest operator, Turkcell. The operator said there are over 40,000 contactless readers already installed within retail outlets.
The new iCarte service, which was developed by Wireless Dynamics and requires a downloadable app as well as an NFC dongle accessory attached to the iPhone, will allow Turkcell customers to pay for items by touching their iPhone on contactless-enabled point-of-sale readers without entering a PIN.
However, the launch of iCarte lags by two months a similar service launched by the Turkish bank Garanti in partnership with MasterCard and the Turkish operator Avea. That service uses an antenna-equipped SIM card mobile payment solution that integrates NFC.
Apple is expected to release later this year an iPhone with embedded NFC technology, and is also rumoured to be testing a payment terminal that small businesses could use to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads.
Meanwhile, LG seems to be taking a more cautious approach with the announcement that its NFC-enabled handsets were currently in beta trials, and would be ready for commercial trials next year.
However, the firm indicated that it will look to integrate NFC into all of its future mobile phones, while pushing for investment to be ramped up in the necessary infrastructure to support mobile payment services. The company confirmed that its initial testing ground for NFC is in Europe and the UK.
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