S Korea to require NFC chips in smartphones

Dylan Bushell-Embling
14 Jun 2011

South Korean regulators are planning a major drive towards NFC adoption, including requiring smartphone vendors to include the capability in their phones.

Regulator KCC will oversee efforts to install or upgrade 300,000 mobile payment checkout point of sale systems this year, Reutersreports.

Mobile operators and credit card companies have agreed to deploy the terminals at shops including retail stores, fast food outlets and petrol stations. Credit card companies will offer discounts when paying by phone in a bid to stimulate adoption.

All smartphones that go on sale in South Korea will also reportedly soon need to be equipped with an NFC chip.

The news follows last week's announcement by the KCC that operators SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, as well as card issuers, government bodies and consumer electronics firms, had agreed to join forces for the Grand NFC Korea Alliance.

The Alliance plans to facilitate NFC adoption, with the goal of having the industry generate nearly $1 billion in revenue and create 5,700 jobs over the next five years, NFC Worldreported.

In February, SK Telecom also agreed to team up with KDDI and Softbank to trial NFC payments for travellers between Korea and Japan. The NFC market in South Korea is already well ahead of the curve.

Google last month started trials of its own mobile wallet NFC payment service.

Besides mobile payment, other novel applications for NFC are being tested. Clarion Hotel Stockholm last week announced the results of a pilot trial using NFC chips to stand in for room keys.

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