Light Reading

CTIA 2011: Operators Avoid App Syndrome With NFC

Sarah Thomas

ORLANDO, Fla. -- International CTIA WIRELESS 2011 -- Picture this: Wireless operators, who used to own the applications experience, become disintermediated, and ultimately surpassed, by software giants like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Operators are left struggling to find a way back in.

That's the scenario operators hope to avoid with mobile commerce and, more specifically, near field communications (NFC), according to Dave Talach, vice president of global product marketing at VeriFone Holdings Inc.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US Inc. teamed up in November to form Isis, a joint venture with Barclays and Discover aimed at promoting NFC, which enables transactions over short-range wireless links. Talach says this is the catalyst that kicked off the contactless payments market this year. (See US Carriers Combine Mobile Wallets and Google, Apple Fight Carriers for Mobile Money.)

"They broke the whole chicken-and-egg cycle," he said at a CTIA interview.

VeriFone has been providing retailers with secure electronic payments for more than 10 years, but now it's partnering up with new players including wireless operators and the competitors they're looking to outpace. VeriFone is reportedly working with both Isis and Google on NFC trials. Talach wouldn't confirm either partnership, but hinted at the deals by repeating, "It's safe to assume we're engaged with most major NFC initiatives."

Of course, Talach thinks there is room for several forms of NFC to coexist. But, while he gives the wireless operators a lot of credit for being first movers, there are many followers creeping up fast, including potentially Apple. The challenge for the operators will be to keep the momentum up.

"The carriers are creating structure, but don't rule out an Apple App Store or Android Market phenomenon," Talach said. "To see how NFC will unravel, look at app stores. We need structure from Isis, but we also need more choices."

In this new and competitive market, there are still some topics up for debate and plenty of dissension, something both VeriFone and BlackBerry have experienced lately. (See OS Watch: RIM Battles Carriers for Mobile Money.)

The debates have centered around security and whether the NFC technology should reside in the SIM card or in the phone itself. The answer to this dictates who gets control of the subscriber relationship -- the wireless operator or handset maker/OS vendor. Talach said the market could end up with a neutral secure element in which it doesn’t matter if contactless payments are carried out in the phone or SIM card, or a dual-secure element in which the operators and handset makers share ownership. Either way, there will be more issues around transaction fees and the subscriber relationship to grapple with.

"The battle is not resolved," Talach said. "It will be in flux a lot."

Talach also echoed a sentiment that many have expressed in Monday's Money Over Mobile partner conference at CTIA -- that it's not the payments that make NFC so exciting. It's more about doing payments plus something else, such as receiving a coupon, getting a digital receipt, automatically checking into Foursquare or racking up loyalty points. The first step is getting NFC off the ground, but then it will only get more interesting, Tallach said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Wagner’s Ring
The Business Case for Open Source

11|30|15   |     |   (1) comment

Open source helps companies enhance infrastructure, undermine competitors' advantage and teach collaboration. But there are problems.
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (10) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Hong Kong Moments
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/26/2015
Facebook in Africa: Beauty or Beast?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 11/27/2015
Cable Gives Thanks for Business Services
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 11/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.