Sat, Dec 24, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Mobile phone payments set to take off next year

NEW TIDE RISING:The market for NFC mobile payments is looking particularly promising following the September launch of Google’s payment app ‘Google Wallet’ in the US

Staff Writer, with CNA

The number of smartphones facilitating mobile payment services in Taiwan are expected to reach 100,000 next year, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) said on Thursday, with local carriers planning to build a standardized Internet environment.

Taiwan’s five telecoms operators — Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大), Far EasTone, Asia Pacific Telecom Co (亞太電信) and Vibo Telecom Inc (威寶電信) — have decided to adopt the global Near Field Communication (NFC) technology standard for mobile payments, Far EasTone said.

The carriers have visited the Bankers Association of the ROC to exchange opinions on the mechanism and are also working on a new business model with Easycard Corp (悠遊卡公司), which has 26 million EasyCard holders in Taiwan, Far EasTone product and service delivery vice president Roger Chen (陳立人) said.

“We expect the Financial Supervisory Commission to approve a proposal about mobile payments submitted by the Bankers Association of the ROC in the second half of 2012, and the number of NFC phones enabling mobile payments to reach 100,000 units by the end of next year,” Chen said.

He said a smartphone brand, which asked for anonymity, had told him that it plans to launch two NFC phones in the first half of next year, which will run on Google Inc’s Android operating system. Other vendors are expected to join it.

Handset makers such as HTC Corp (宏達電), Samsung Electronics Co, Nokia Corp and Research In Motion have launched NFC-enabled phones, but only a few of their products are on sale in Taiwan.

Worldwide shipments of NFC-enabled phones will grow from 35 million units this year to 80 million units next year, an increase of 128 percent year-on-year, British market research firm IMS Research said.

The market for NFC looks especially promising because of the September launch of Google’s payment app “Google Wallet” in the US.

High-profile events such as the Olympic Games in London next year will also help to promote the technology and its benefits around the world, IMS Research said.

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