Orange looks for alliances to put heat under NFC market

22 September 2011 | Guy Matthews


French cellco Orange has said it wants to collaborate with other mobile operator names to help get a European near field communication (NFC) market off the ground.

It has detailed plans which it said will establish a commercial NFC ‘ecosystem’ by the end of next year.

The first part of Orange’s NFC strategy is to establish a base of NFC-compatible SIMs and devices across the continent, and then build a market within each European economy with the help of local partners. Thirdly it will look to take NFC ‘worldwide’ through a further network of alliances.

Orange has already worked with rival MNOs Bouygues and SFR, and MVNO NRJ, in the southern French city of Nice to launch the Cityzi service, a standardised platform that other service providers can use to distribute NFC services. It claimed that over 150,000 Cityzi-enabled devices are already in use.

Orange said a successful NFC market will demand close cooperation between Tier one service providers, governments and standards bodies. It said that the ultimate aim of a fully internationalised NFC market will be for a citizen in one country to use their NFC-enabled device to purchase goods and services in any other country they travel to.

NFC allows for simplified transactions between two devices in proximity to each other, and is expected to become a widely used system for making small payments by smartphone. Consumers can already store credit card information on their NFC smartphone and make payments without using an actual credit card.