Come middle of 2012, you will never look at your smartphone the same way again. Your smartphone will, to a certain extent, be your mobile e-wallet, allowing you to make purchases at more than 20,000 retail points and taxis using Near Field Communications (NFC). How is it possible?
Through the Call-for-Collaboration (CFC) initiative by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), seven companies (Gemalto Pte Ltd, Citibank Singapore Ltd, DBS Bank Ltd, EZ-Link Pte Ltd, M1 Limited, SingTel Mobile Singapore Pte Ltd and StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd) are brought together in Asia's first interoperable nationwide deployment of NFC mobile payment system.
With a total investment of S$40 million, IDA and the seven companies will deploy the Trusted Third Party (TTP) infrastructure and more than 10 NFC mobile payment and value-added services by 2014. Although these services will be gradually implemented, at least three NFC mobile payment services will be ready in mid 2012.The collaboration will see the companies combining their respective strengths in the industry.
Gemalto, a company specializing in digital security, will leverage on its extensive infrastructure and expertise in the digital content domain to develop and operate the TTP infrastructure. This includes the management of the secure memory space of the secure chip and life cycle processes of payment cards on the secure chip. Gemalto will also be working with service providers to deploy innovative NFC mobile value-added services such as interactive digital signage advertising, mobile coupons and mobile ticketing.
DBS, EZ-Link and Citibank will be enabling a variety of credit/debit scheme cards and stored value payment products, to be issued over-the-air through Gemalto, and stored on the secure chips of customers' NFC-enabled phones. The three telcos (SingTel, StarHub and M1) will take charge of introducing NFC-enabled phones into the market and providing customer support. The telcos will also be providing bridging hardware solutions or devices such as NFC stickers and NFC microSD, to enable NFC capabilities on existing mobile phones.
While the CFC initiative marked a major step forward for Singapore in pushing out a nationwide NFC mobile payment system, IDA hopes to see more service providers jump onto the bandwagon. IDA stands firmly on its belief of the Open Access Business Model in the accessibility of the TTP. There will be no exclusivity contract to prevent a party from servicing others and there will be non-discriminatory practices to ensure consistent service level and quality, and timeliness of deployment.
We have seen how Nokia planned to introduce NFC to the masses in Singapore. It introduced the Singapore NFC Hub, which is a site that allows businesses to order NFC tags and posters for commercial purposes. Nokia also partnered with Singapore taxi operator ComfortDelGro to offer NFC-enabled option as part of its FastCall automated taxi booking services at over 400 locations.