Sat, Sep 15, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone plans to launch mobile payment service

EASY PAYMENT Set for launch next year, the service will allow users to pay for shopping at Geant hypermart and 7-Eleven via their mobile phones

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation's third-largest telecom service operator, said yesterday it plans to launch mobile payment services early next year, aiming for a slice of the growing market for mobile commerce.

The new service will allow Far EasTone subscribers to pay for shopping at 7-11 convenience stores and hypermarket chain Far Eastern Geant (愛買) through their mobile phones.

Users can also use their phones to pay for tickets to Kaohsiung's rapid transit system, which is set to start operations by the end of next year.

NFC technology

"By adopting global standards, experiences and technology, we aim to [stimulate] our domestic NFC [near-field communication] related industries [and] develop more advanced services and products to energize the telecommunications category," company president Jan Nilsson said.

Before a commercial rollout early next year, Far EasTone plans to do a pilot run for 200 consumers at the end of November. The service will be based on cutting-edge NFC technology, a long-awaited standard that the GSM association will unveil in November.

market potential

Nilsson expects the NFC business to take off over the next three years, with a potential user base of 2 billion to 3 billion worldwide.

Far EasTone is working with several manufacturers to provide NFC-enabled handsets, including Sagem Mobile.

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) is also scheduled to unveil its plan for NFC service next week in collaboration with Nokia Oyj, Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託商業銀行) and other partners.

In Asia, telecom companies in Singapore and Hong Kong have already launched NFC services.

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