NFC poised for critical mass in France

Today’s announcement that Orange will undertake the first large scale rollout of NFC-enabled SIM cards in France is more proof, if it were needed, that NFC seems to be on the cusp of mass adoption.

For the last few years, influencers and industry heavyweights have questioned whether NFC would ever achieve widespread adoption and, if it did, what would drive it. Back in February 2011, soon after we launched the blog, Mark Roberti, Editor of RFID Journal, asked us:

“Is there a chicken and egg issue — consumers won’t buy NFC phones until there are applications they can use and there won’t be applications until there are more phones? How can this challenge be overcome?”

Today’s news from Orange starts to answer this question, albeit almost 18 months on. As we predicted at the time, operators are starting to play a key role in bringing NFC to the mass market. And by offering NFC services to millions of new customers, they are making NFC a more attractive prospect to app developers.

The issue of consumers’ appetite for NFC services is also clearer now than it was in early 2011. The launch of successful NFC-enabled handsets such as those from Samsung has shown that there is significant demand for NFC, and recent rumours that the next iPhone will include the technology show that both manufacturers and operators are taking NFC very seriously.

We look forward to seeing how Orange’s rollout progresses and hope that it will be the first of hundreds of similar large-scale deployments of NFC over the months and years ahead. What do you think? Is it about time?

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