APAC cellcos form NFC alliance

John C. Tanner
26 Feb 2014

Four Asia-Pacific operators kicked off an alliance Tuesday to regionalize NFC services.

Chunghwa Telecom, HKT, KDDI and SK Planet jointly announced the formation of the Asia NFC Alliance at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The alliance – which has the backing of the GSM Association – wants to extend existing NFC services beyond its members’ respective borders to accelerate the adoption of compatible and seamless NFC services worldwide.

All four operators already offer some form of NFC service in their home markets, such as travel information, online booking of tickets and hotels, coupon downloads and mobile payments. But apart from a recent cooperation deal between KDDI and CHT offering a smart poster service in tourist shopping areas, and NFC coupons from KDDI and SK Planet, there’s been very little effort to extend NFC services outside their home markets.

The Asia NFC Alliance aims to do just that, extending NFC services across the entire Asia-Pacific region so that subscribers can access NFC services overseas.

“Our near-term goal is to promote common standards and a technology development platform for new applications, beginning with the domestic markets of our members,” said Lin Kuo-feng, Asia NFC Alliance chair and president of Chunghwa Telecom’s Mobile Business group, in a statement. “In the long term, we hope to expand this NFC Alliance into a global organization to create convenient services across borders worldwide.”

With just four members – and with NFC struggling to find solid footing in most markets – the alliance has its work cut out for it. But the group does plan to recruit more members.

And it does have the backing of the GSMA, perhaps the biggest proponent of NFC technology for mobile operators.

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