Who can (or should) lead in NFC? – Question from NFC World

As part of our series of questions from bloggers and journalists, Sarah Clark, editor of NFC World and author of NFC Business Models, asks Gemalto who is currently in the strongest position to take advantage of the benefits that NFC technology has to offer? Mobile operators, handset manufacturers, banks/financial institutions or new entrants to the market?

That’s a difficult question and I think it’s probably too early to tell. MNOs are well positioned given they own the SIM which will be used to stored secure NFC applications such as payment as well as their existing relationships with some service providers. Handset makers can also play an important role given the application store distribution model while banking institutions are a mandatory player to make mobile contactless payment a reality. What we have seen before and during Mobile World Congress is that they are all making great steps forward with new NFC handsets on show and various operators announcing deployments including Deutsche Telekom who, according to Phone Scoop:

“announced plans to roll out mobile payment via T-Mobile using NFC technology in multiple countries in 2011-2012″… “it expects NFC phones in 2011 from Apple, Samsung in Q2, and RIM & LG in Q3. The company expects mobile payments replacing cash to be the most popular use for NFC technology, followed by mobile ticketing for services such as public transportation.”

In the near future it looks like they will have to work together to build the cross-industry NFC infrastructure that they can then leverage to sell their own services.  In the first instance the first movers in each country will probably gain a privileged relationship with the customer but as the market grows in size it will naturally attract new entrants. That would be my prediction – ultimately we need everyone working together on this.

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