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Analysts have been predicting the rise of NFC for a while now, but expectations vary wildly. The main driver that’s widely touted is mobile payments, but the number of NFC-enabled devices in circulation is still relatively small. We take a look at some potential uses for NFC and ask: what is holding it back?

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The marketing head of Isis, Jaymee Johnson, has sent out a statement to tech publications across the country that its mobile payment service will indeed be officially rolled out on October 22. Come Monday next week, folks in Salt Lake City and Austin, who are keen on leaving their wallet at home to make some transactions, will be able to tap and pay their way out of Isis-ready stores.

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The new mobile payment system backed by three carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile), dubbed as Isis Mobile Wallet, has been pushed back from its original September launch. A leaked internal memo, as attained by Tmonews (and as we’ve reported before,) shows that Isis will now be launched on October 22 in two cities – Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas. But the memo also reveals more details.

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Phones have been shipping with NFC (near field communication) support for several years now, but the one use case that we’ve all been waiting for, paying for things via a simple tap, has yet to take the market by storm. Google launched Google Wallet in May 2011, but hardly anyone is using it. Why? There aren’t any technical reasons to explain Google Wallet’s failure, it all boils down to politics.

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After much fanfare surrounding the new mobile payment system being put forward by carriers, ISIS is encountering delays anew. A venture launched by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, the service aims to reduce consumer dependency on plastic credit cards and instead pay through NFC-enabled smartphones.

Edge Next Jump

Earlier today we heard that T-Mobile has made available an Ice Cream Sandwich build for its Galaxy S2 version that enables NFC/ISIS features on the handset and at the time we wondered when will ISIS be available on the handset given that the three main U.S. carriers backing the Google Wallet mobile payment rival have not officially announced its availability. It now looks like we have confirmation that the ISIS mobile payment project developed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile will be available to interested consumers in September. According to CNET, Doug Bergeron, CEO of Verifone, “which makes the payment terminals…

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While we keep talking about Google Wallet mobile payment features, that are available only on NFC-ready devices, the fact remains that Google is not the only company out there interested in getting into the mobile payment business. Three of the main four U.S. carriers – Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile – have joined forces to create the ISIS venture, a mobile platform of their own that would compete directly with Google Wallet, which explains why some NFC-enabled Android handsets do not support Google Wallet on these carriers. On top of that, there are also plenty of other mobile payment initiatives out…