On Tuesday, a number of mobile operators from around the globe called on handset vendors to implement contactless payment functionality in devices from mid-2009 in a bid to drive adoption of mobile payment services.

At a GSM Association (GSMA) event held in Macau, China this week, the mobile carrier community called for full NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities in handsets from next year.

Under its Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative, the industry body is backing the implementation of the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) endorsed Single Wire Protocol standard, to provide the interface between the SIM card and the embedded NFC chipset within the handset.

NFC, or contacless payment as it is sometimes called, allows consumers to pay for low value goods, such as magazines or coffee, by waving their device over a reader at the point of sale.

Pay-Buy-Mobile trials are currently underway across eight countries involving nine mobile operators, with further pilots planned across 14 countries by 15 mobile operators.

Last month, industry analyst Juniper Research said that while the mobile payments market is currently dominated by purchases of digital content such as ringtones, music and games, it will in future be driven by users transferring money and using NFC to make purchases.

The researcher said that mobile money transfer and NFC (Near Field Communications) transactions are predicted to account for 50 per cent of the global mobile payment market by 2013.

The GSMA has also been busy with another initiative this week, announcing the successful pilot of the international Carrier ENUM service.

ENUM, an E.164 telephone Number Mapping protocol, is used for IP-based routing and interconnection between IP networks like the internet and the traditional telephone system, essentially translating a phone number into an IP address.

The service, recently branded PathFinder, is now generally available to mobile and fixed network operators, carriers and related service providers.

By providing mobile and fixed line operators with a single routing mechanism, PathFinder claims to simplify and reduce the cost of delivery of IP-based services, including packet voice, Instant Messaging (IM), MMS, email, and video.

PathFinder is already supported by Bharti, Lleida.net, mobilkom austria, SMART, Telekom Austria, Telecom Italia and Telenor.