Telekom Austria has kicked off its first trial of NFC technology, as it eyes mobile payments as a means of cutting churn, but the firm remains cagey on when commercial services will launch.
The operator is connecting 5,000 domestic mobile subscribers to Paybox NFC, which enables mobile payments of up to €25 ($33) in branches of McDonald’s burger restaurants and Austrian supermarket chain Merkur. Trial handsets feature a secure NFC chip embedded directly into the SIM or an NFC sticker.
Telekom Austria predicts the service, run in conjunction with Paybox Bank, will boost customer loyalty and its financial performance. However, the exact timing of the commercial launch remains a mystery, with the firm stating only that the trial is the first step towards a full fledged service. Test data will be used to strike partnerships to enhance the commercial service.
A study by US-based Pew Research Center shows that most web and smartphone users expect to replace cash and credit card payments with mobile alternatives by 2020, despite concerns over the security of the set ups.