Asian operators form NFC alliance

Four Asian mobile operators have teamed up to form an alliance to accelerate the adoption of NFC technology worldwide. Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom, Hong Kong’s HKT, Japan’s KDDI and SK Planet, a wholly owned subsidiary of South Korea’s SK Telecom announced the formation of the Asia NFC Alliance with the support of trade association GSMA at Mobile World Congress.

NFC technology has been comparatively successful in the Far East in terms of user adoption. The alliance explained that services offered in its operators’ home markets include travel information, ticket and hotel bookings, coupon downloads as well as mobile payments. However, these services have not been interoperable across national borders,

KDDI and Chunghwa recently cooperated on a smart poster service in tourist shopping areas, and the Japanese operator has also developed an NFC coupon project with SK Planet, but until now these programmes have been limited to single markets. The Asia NFC Alliance aims to expand the service coverage of these operators from within a single country to the whole Asian region.

The alliance’s chairman Lin Kuo-Feng said that the aim for the operators is to create a seamless NFC experience for consumers travelling across national borders. The GSMA’s business lead for digital commerce Pierre Combelles added that the trade association’s involvement in the alliance is to promote cross-operator interoperability and common platforms to more effectively develop and deploy NFC services.

“We hope that this alliance will be an open organization for the expansion of overseas cooperation services,” said Takashi Tanaka, president at KDDI. “We aim to actively promote collaboration with telecommunications carriers not only in Asia but in Europe and America, and create a world in which users in every country can avail themselves of NFC services.”

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