Orange Announces NFC-SIM Rollout, Smartphone-Purchase Aims

France Telecom-Orange Group has announced plans to roll out SIM cards supporting NFC services to most of its European operators by the second half of 2011 and has stated its intention that more than half of the new smartphones models it buys will support NFC.

Orange, one of the largest operator groups in Europe, made the announcement at a meeting with mobile handset makers in Paris Wednesday. The telco group said it would “work with manufacturers to ensure that over half of new smartphone models it buys will be compatible with contactless services when combined with the new secure SIM.”

"The smartphone revolution has changed the way people organize their daily lives," Stephane Richard, CEO of France Telecom–Orange, said in a statement. "Our commitment to contactless services will benefit customers, giving them a seamless, convenient and secure way to validate transport or make payments."

Orange has major European operations in France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland, as well as five other European countries. The announcement probably does not apply to the United Kingdom, where Orange UK is part of a joint venture with Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile. The JV, Everything Everywhere, is said to be handling its own NFC phone and SIM purchases.

The Orange SIMs to be rolled out would be able to store ticketing, payment and other secure applications in the phones and would be intended for postpaid subscribers.

Orange has already disclosed that it would begin putting the Samsung S5230, Player One, NFC phone on sale in shops throughout its home base of France starting in January. The telco and its competitors are using the phone model, which is not a smartphone, for the precommercial trial they launched last May in Nice. Orange said it will put other NFC handset models on sale in France starting in the spring.

The telco earlier this year set a target of selling 500,000 NFC phones by the end of 2011 in France. Orange has more than 26 million subscribers in France.

Orange’s strategy is to seed the market with NFC phones in France even before NFC services are available, in order to have a base of customers ready to use the services when they are introduced. That may also be the strategy for rolling out NFC-enabled SIMs later next year in most European markets.

But it is unclear when the group will be able to make good on its intention that more than half of the smartphone models it buys will support NFC.

"As soon as vendors deliver," one source at Orange told NFC Times. "So we have started passing the message (that) NFC is now a feature on which we will select phones for our catalogue."

With that message, Orange hopes handset makers will make more models available.

Orange wants the NFC phones to be paired with its NFC-enabled SIMs, through which it plans to make revenue. It would charge service providers to put their applications on the SIMs and fees for helping to manage the services. 

HEADLINE NEWS

Analysis: Following Delays, PayPal ‘Soon’ to Launch Next Attempt at In-Store Payments using Host Card Emulation

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – PayPal and Google announced a deal that promises to finally bring HCE payments to U.S. PayPal account holders, after delays–enabling users to pay with PayPal through Android Pay.

Vendor Blames Certification Woes for Slow Rollout of Payments Wearables

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A costly and time-consuming payments wearables certification process is a major contributor to delays in payments wearables getting into the hands of more consumers, Israel-based On Track Innovations’ director of marketing and head of innovations Nir Barr told NFC Times.

With Apple’s NFC Technology Locked, Denmark Tries BLE for Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive – With Apple showing no signs of backing off its policy of restricting use of its NFC technology to Apple Pay only, banks and payments services providers are looking for ways to enable their iPhone-packing customers to pay with their phones in stores, especially in countries where Apple Pay hasn’t yet launched.

Analysis: Fall in NFC SIM Card Shipments Years in the Making

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – SIM card vendor trade group the SIMalliance acknowledged for the first time that NFC SIM shipments are dropping and blamed disappointing take-up by consumers, as well as the tail end of the impact of the closing of the Softcard joint venture in early 2015. The group again declined to release global NFC SIM shipment figures, however.

Exclusive: Group of Major U.S. Banks Presses Visa to Open up Tokenization

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Some of the largest banks in the U.S. have been pressing Visa to allow them to tokenize their Visa-branded cards for mobile payments through a token service provider set up by their trade group, The Clearing House, which is owned by such major U.S. issuers as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Capital One and Bank of America, NFC Times has learned.

Major French Banks Roll Out HCE as They Warily Await Expansion of ‘Pays’ in France

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There are markets where the major banks welcome Apple Pay and other “Pays” wallets, such as Taiwan, the most recent country to launch Apple Pay. And then there are countries where banks hold back.

As PayPal and Visa Extend Agreement to Asia-Pacific, PayPal Wallet Users Still Wait for In-Store Payments with NFC

NFC Times Exclusive – Visa and PayPal on Tuesday announced an extension to Asia-Pacific of last year’s agreement to work together on digital payments in the U.S., including opening up Visa tokenization and Visa payWave-enabled terminals to PayPal users for in-store NFC transactions.

Australian Antitrust Regulators: Apple’s Lock on NFC Technology Doesn’t Hurt Competition

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As expected, Australian antitrust regulators shot down a request by four major banks for permission to bargain collectively with Apple to try to gain access to the tech giant’s NFC technology in its iPhones and to jointly boycott participation in Apple Pay during the negotiations.

Apple Pay Launches in Taiwan; Banking Group Announces Local Token Service Provider, Though TSP Not Ready Yet

Apr 3 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – TAIPEI, Taiwan: Apple launched its mobile payments service in Taiwan today, before the end of the month as expected, as the tech giant expands Apple Pay to its 15th market globally.

Taiwan’s Domestic Debit Network to Launch Token Service Provider

Mar 29 2017

NFC TIMES Exclusive – A number of Taiwanese banks plan to enable customers to load their debit card credentials into an HCE-enabled mobile wallet app starting this month, following the launch last year by the banks of HCE-enabled credit card payments, NFC Times has learned.

Samsung Launches Support for QR Code-Based Payments in India, as It Seeks to Broaden Merchant Acceptance

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Samsung has expanded its mobile payments service to India, where Samsung Pay will integrate a QR code-based mobile wallet service, along with conventional NFC bank card payments and Samsung’s proprietary mobile mag-stripe payments technology, MST.

Gemalto’s Shares Tumble as it Warns of Lower Revenue and a Bigger Miss of Its 2017 Profit Goal

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Shares in France-based vendor Gemalto fell sharply today as it issued warnings before markets opened that its revenue and profit would badly miss projections this year.