What is NFC?
Near Field Communications, or NFC, is a wireless technology that can transmit data between two devices within a few centimetres of each other. Using NFC you can transfer information between your phone and other NFC devices, such as phones, NFC tags or payment solutions. NFC chips are now being embedded into SIM cards in mobile phones, enabling an array of new digital services, such as:
- Ticketing – replacing paper tickets on public transport systems
- Payments – replacing cash and credit cards to purchase goods and services
- Access control – replacing traditional keys
- Couponing – replacing vouchers and coupons. In each case, NFC can cut costs by replacing physical receipts, tickets or plastic cards, while enhancing the consumer experience by providing greater interactivity and convenience.
- Advertising – using NFC tags that can be embedded on posters, on billboards or next to products in retail stores. These tags can provide additional information such as maps, video and URls.
Mobile operators and NFC
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) across the world are now rolling out NFC-based services, fuelling the next wave of mobile innovation. Commercial services are live in a number of countries including: South Korea, France, Singapore, UK, USA, Poland, Canada, China, Japan, Turkey, New Zealand and Czech Republic.
Mobile operators are well-placed to facilitate the delivery of NFC services as they have:
- Sufficient economies of scale to provide contactless services to all
- Access to substantial distribution channels to provide and promote subsidised NFC-enabled handsets
- Significant customer case infrastructure providing consumers with trusted support on all issues relating to their mobile services
- The technical infrastructure for the provisioning of SIM cards and ensuring adequate security and customer certification
- Substantial experience in interoperability/roaming and ensuring the global compatibility of contactless services
The GSMA and mobile NFC
To help the NFC ecosystem gain economies of scale and critical mass, the GSMA is supporting and promoting the adoption of NFC services. In particular, the GSMA is focused on driving the standardised deployment of mobile NFC using the SIM as the secure element to provide authentication, security and portability across many different handsets. Adopting SIM-based NFC as a global standard will also ensure economies of scale and interoperability, which will be critical to the widespread adoption of NFC, enabling people around the world to benefit from NFC services, regardless of their operator network or device type.
The GSMA is actively engaged with projects that are developing commercial NFC sevices in: Brazil, Chile, the Nordics, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, China and Australia.
The GSMA is also working with policy makers to develop the optimum regulatory environment to enable both consumers and businesses to harness the benefits of NFC-based services.