There has been an explosion in mobile payment service launches, joint ventures, and partnerships in the past two to three years. Merchants are starting to appreciate the benefits that mobile payments can bring, with major chains including Starbucks and McDonald’s launching services on a national basis.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm wants wireless carriers to set up new technology that would offer cellphone users better reception in places like subway tunnels and shopping malls.
The San Diego, California company said on Thursday it will start selling components this year featuring LTE technology adapted for a smaller scale than traditional cellphone base stations mounted on metal towers bristling with antennas and other electronics.
NFC player Gemalto says Spain’s Banco Santander is now issuing its Optelio Contactless microSD solution in Spain, Brazil, Chile and Mexico as part of a University Smart Card program.
The application has already gone live at several universities, says Gemalto (Amsterdam, Netherlands), and means that students, teachers and other personnel can use mobile phones for tasks such as gaining entry to buildings and to make payments in canteens.
The UK’s Three has made further progress on growing its M2M business through a new wholesale deal with data airtime provider Mobius.
Under the partnership, Mobius (Coalville, UK) will use Three Wholesale’s network to provide connectivity and NFC services for devices used in the retail and hospitality industry.
The operator says its “ultrafast” network will power NFC and contactless payment terminals used to process customer orders and transactions and also serve as a back-up for fixed-line data connections during outages.
M2M specialist Gemalto has landed a deal to supply NFC SIM cards to Russia’s MTS for use with a mobile-phone based public-transport ticketing service in the city of Novosibirsk.
Gemalto’s Upteq SIM technology is to be operated in conjunction with Zolotaya Korona, a Russian payment and money transfer system, allowing users to pay for journeys on buses and the Novosibirsk metro by tapping their devices on an NFC reader.
Customers are to be charged for their journeys through the usual MTS billing arrangements.
Shipments of so-called MFF2 SIM cards designed to withstand the harsh conditions of various M2M deployments rose by 42%, to 5 million, between 2011 and 2012, according to new figures released by trade association the SIMalliance.
The organization said the increase illustrates the potential of the M2M opportunity and expects to see further growth in the next few months as applications are introduced in new vertical markets.
Last week both Visa and MasterCard announced European mobile payments partnerships. On Monday, MasterCard announced that it has entered into a mobile payments partnership with Deutsche Telekom, while Visa announced on Friday that it had joined forces with Telefonica Digital to offer a similar service.
On Thursday, Orange, a mobile operator in France with over 27 million subscribers, and Gemalto, a provider of digital security, announced a large-scale rollout of a SIM-based NFC service to enable NFC-readiness for mass deployment of mobile contactless services.
Last week, Everything Everywhere, the UK’s biggest communications company, and Nokia Siemens Networks, a telecom equipment vendor, announced a partnership for the remote stock monitoring of smart vending machines.
Last week, Everything Everywhere announced an agreement with Transport operator Stagecoach Group to offer consumers with a way to use mobile phones as tickets for public transportation. The two companies have unveiled the UK's first Government-standard commercial deployment of mobile contactless transport ticketing, which could lead to a nationwide roll out across select bus and rail services in 2013.