NFC coming to the UK as major networks join forces

NFC-enabled smartphones likely to ramp up in numbers

The UK's biggest mobile phone networks Vodafone, O2, Orange, Everything Everywhere and T-Mobile will join forces to create a central m-commerce system that will allow customers to pay for goods using their mobile phones

O2, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile are set to work together to launch a NFC payment system that other businesses will be able to take advantage of.

In a joint venture that, "will deliver the technology required for the speedy adoption of mobile wallet and payments," subject to clearance the mobile wallet system should be ready for a rollout in late 2011.

Near Field Communication, which will allow phone users to pay for products and services using their phone, has already been introduced to the smartphone arena after the Samsung Nexus S was officially unveiled late last year with a NFC chip built into the handset.

Google launched its Wallet payment system last month, however, the service is only available in the US. Orange and Barclaycard also launched its Quick Tap NFC service in the UK last month, but this announcement is likely to be more significant for UK businesses and consumers.

Commenting on the joint venture Tom Alexander, CEo of Everything Everywhere said, "The benefits [of this joint venture] will be felt across the whole industry, allowing people to manage their money and make payments using their handsets, helping advertisers reach their customers on the move, and helping banks provide their clients with an easy and convenient way of making payments.

Vodafone UK's Chief Executive Officer Guy Laurence, added, "Currently people take their mobile, wallet and keys when they leave home.

"In the near future, people will now start leaving their wallet at home, and in the mid term their keys may also be integrated into their mobile as NFC allows the mobile to act as a digital access card. The joint venture is the next phase in realising that ambition."

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Link: Tech Radar