O2’s just revealed the results of its first NFC trial, letting phone-wielders pay for things using the wireless power of their mobiles. The next phase, it says, is to shove the technology into SIM cards, so more phones can be used as a mobile wallet.
Declaring the trial a success, O2 said 90% of trialists were happy with the wireless payment tech, while 78% would use more contactless services if they were available.
At the moment, O2’s technology is capable of payment in shops using Barclaycard Visa payWave, as well as letting owners use London’s public transport network, thanks to Oyster card compatibility built in.
In the next phase, Giesecke & Devrient, the company behind Barclaycard’s secure data management system, will embed all its applications onto NFC-enabled SIM cards, meaning any phone with an NFC antenna can be used as a wireless payment system, as long as it holds one of O2’s SIMs.
“There are two main pieces of infrastructure,” explained Claire Maslen head of NFC at O2, “the secure element on the SIM, and the antenna in the device. We still need a range of devices from handset vendors, but the intelligence will remain on the SIM. That also means we can send updates over the air.”
O2 also wants to create a “taskforce” of companies behind NFC to make it a mainstream product. “We want all the major banks and card schemes as part of the consortium” says Maslen. “I think it’s key that we have two or three major retailers, and if they come on board it’ll have a major effect on roll-out.”
When will it be available? O2 says it could launch the technology now, but is waiting for more support from partners. “Launching in six months would be hugely optimistic,” said Maslen. “Being able to deliver the best customer experience is important for us… It has to be mass market to make it successful.”
TBC | £TBC | O2