More and more smartphones will come with support for NFC technology in the future – short for near field communication – as companies such as Google, Microsoft, wireless carriers and others become more interested in offering NFC features including mobile payments to their customers.
A new report from Fierce Wireless reveals that NFC adoption is on the rise in Europe as well, with over 1 million NFC-enabled handsets sold in less than two years. The technology is supported by four carriers in the region, including Orange, SFR (Vodafone), Bouygues Telecom and NRJ Mobile, which hope to have around 2.5 million NFC-ready smartphones in use by the end of the year.
However, it’s worth pointing out that there’s little use for NFC technology in the country despite the increasing number of supporting devices. Dubbed Cityzi, the NFC service endorsed by the four carriers can’t offer that many features to consumers at this time.
Mobile payments via Cityzi will be available in the near future, “with the support of several large banks,” but so far there’s limited use of NFC. For example, Orange is offering “contactless ticketing” in Paris at Stade de France and Roland Garros and at the Toulouse International Airport. But mobile operators say that in order for NFC technology to play a more active part in the life of consumers, NFC terminals and readers must also be installed across the country.
Among the NFC Android devices that are selling well in France, the report mentions the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Sony Xperia S, but lets not forget that users are probably buying these devices for other reasons than the fact they are NFC-enabled.
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Here in Germany the local transport companies are already using NFC in some areas for tickets – but cards with buildin NFC. Still waiting for the day when they upgrade their apps and allow me to use the phone instead of a seperate NFC card I’ve to carry with me.