Japan’s rollout of phones and tablets supporting standard NFC technology has topped the 20 million mark, with Japan’s three major mobile operators deploying the handsets with NFC chips along with domestic FeliCa technology. But Japanese consumers still have few places to use the hybrid devices.
Japan’s three major mobile operators had sold nearly 14 million standard NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets as of January, according to the Mobile NFC Association, as the country continues to be among the leaders in rolling out NFC-enabled phones and SIMs. There are still few places to use the NFC devices in Japan, however.
NFC Times Exclusive: As 2014 unfolds, the NFC ecosystem appears as unsettled as ever, with embedded secure chips expected to compete with NFC SIMs in several markets to store applications, and Google throwing its weight behind an alternative that could eventually enable service providers to avoid secure elements altogether.
Japanese mobile operators KDDI and Softbank Mobile have launched an NFC couponing service in a popular Korean district of Tokyo, implemented by an affiliate of South Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom.
Japan is continuing its transition to standard NFC, with plans by large acquirers to deploy more than 400,000 point-of-sale terminals supporting MasterCard PayPass and confirmation by the No. 3 mobile operator that it has hired an outside trusted service manager as it prepares to introduce NFC services.
SIM manufacturers shipped 30 million NFC SIM cards in 2012, 70% of them to mobile operators in South Korea and Japan, with Europe beginning to ramp up, the SIMalliance trade association said today in announcing its global SIM shipment figures for the year.
Japan’s largest telco, NTT DoCoMo, has begun to make a key piece of its strategy for NFC known, announcing deals with MasterCard Worldwide and South Korea’s KT Corp. to enable subscribers to make payments when they roam in other countries.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – On Track Innovations CEO Shlomi Cohen sought to reassure investors that the company he took over nine months ago is more competitive and is moving toward profitability, though he declines to predict when it will turn its first yearly profit since its founding in 1990.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight –Apple has cracked the big five banks in Canada, with two of the country’s largest banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, today announcing they are participating in Apple Pay, with the three others to follow.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – The issue over availability of tokenization services and whether the major global networks, such as Visa, are allowing for a level playing field among token service providers has reached Taiwan–with a former prime minister and chief banking regulator weighing in on the topic–as Taiwanese officials decide how best to expedite the arrival of such mobile payments services as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Despite providing the NFC technology for three “OEM Pays” that have launched in China or which are scheduled to do so, NXP Semiconductors CEO Richard Clemmer still says he sees transit fare collection as the main opportunity going forward for the chip maker’s NFC technology in China.
NFC Times Exclusive insight –Yandex.Money, sometimes called the “Russian PayPal,” is using host card emulation for its new NFC-enabled payments service, a Yandex.Money representative told NFC Times. PayPal earlier told NFC Times it also plans to use HCE for its app in the U.S.
NFC Times Exclusive – More than two years after EMVCo released its tokenization guidelines, there are still few token service providers operating besides those of the major payments networks, and there are no specifications yet from top networks Visa and MasterCard to help vendors to tokenize cards supporting their brands.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – ANZ is the first bank in Australia to launch with Apple Pay, with Apple able to crack into the big four banks, which had been balking at signing up for the payments service mainly because of Apple’s demands for transaction fees.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is the latest OEM to announce plans to join the “Pays” club, working with payments network China UnionPay to launch an NFC-enabled mobile payments service in China, although giving no details on a launch date or participating banks.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight –It is perhaps a measure of just how big of a hit SIM suppliers took from the closing of the Softcard wallet in the U.S. early last year that their SIMalliance vendor trade group is refusing to release NFC SIM shipment figures publicly for either the North American market or globally for 2015.
NFC Times Exclusive –Few industry sources agree on the size of the contactless-acceptance footprint in the U.S. that enables merchants to accept Apple Pay and other NFC-enabled wallets; but one thing most of them do agree on is that contactless acceptance is not sufficient to support any kind of significant adoption of the wallets.
NFC Times Exclusive Insight –Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient turned around its financial results in 2015, including its money-losing banking and SIM card unit, thanks mainly to restructuring and higher shipments of EMV bank cards to China and the U.S., the privately held company disclosed Tuesday.