France’s No. 2 mobile operator, SFR, has been working on NFC for nearly five years but has not been quite as gung-ho about the technology as have its rivals in France at various times, say observers.

But SFR participated in a pioneering mobile-payment pilot in the French border city of Strasbourg in 2006–joining mobile virtual network operator NRJ Mobile, which uses SFR’s network. This test led to a wider m-payment trial, Payez Mobile, in the city in 2007.

SFR will be a part of the NFC demonstration project planned for the southern French city of Nice in 2010. The city is one of SFR’s market strongholds and could determine the future of NFC in France. SFR will be joined in the “precommercial launch” by its two rivals, France Telecom-Orange and Bouygues Telecom, along with French banks and transit operator Veolia Transport.

The project is a test of France’s cooperative approach to NFC rollouts. As part of that effort, France’s mobile operators have formed a series of committees, anchored by the Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile, of which SFR plays a leading role. Like other French operators, SFR insists that NFC applications be stored on the SIM cards it issues.

While SFR is 44%-owned by the Vodafone Group, it appears to be getting little direction on NFC from the giant telco. Vodafone is taking a wait-and-see approach to the technology in its home turf of the UK.

Key figures: 
Customer Base 2009 2008 Change
Subscribers 18.8 19.7 4.8%
Mobile operations, in millions
 Financial Results
 2008  2007  Change
 Revenue 8,962
 EBITA  2,481  2,574 -3.6%
Mobile operations, in millions of euros
Key NFC Personnel: 
Thierry Launois, director of new business
Olivier Deuffic, senior marketing manager, business development of innovative products
Olivier Tessier, SIM and NFC Program Manager
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 
Last Updated: 
Dec 2009


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