Nice Move for NFC
NFC uses short-range wireless technology -- similar to Bluetooth -- that allows users to use their phones to make "contactless" payments by bringing their handset close to a compatible reader. The Rivera move is something of a milestone in the long and tortuous progress to launch mobile NFC services, and will provide some interesting feedback on user takeup of services. Orange, Bouygues Telecom , SFR , and NRJ Mobile, which is the mobile virtual network operator of banking group Credit Mutuel-CIC, are the mobile operators involved in the pilot. (See Gemalto, Orange Team on NFC.)
Other partners include transportation company Veolia and banks Société Générale and BNP Paribas, not to mention the Nice city council and local businesses. Digital security specialist Gemalto, meanwhile, announced on Friday that it is providing the NFC solution for Orange and NRJ Mobile.
"This project follows on from the 'Payez Mobile' pilot programs successfully rolled out in Strasbourg and Caen, with a new commercial dimension," commented Gemalto in a release on Friday. "In Nice, users take out an NFC mobile pack at their operator's points of sale, and activate the NFC payment service at their bank branch office."
Orange has been the only operator so far to make a formal announcement about today's launch, and said on Friday that it will offer the services using the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Player One handset, the Korean manufacturer's first phone to incorporate NFC technology. The mobile operator is calling its Nice service "le Pass cityzi" and describes the Nice launch as the "dress rehearsal" for a nationwide NFC rollout in 2011.
— Anne Morris, freelance editor, special to Light Reading