Nigerian telecommunications networks and mobile money operators are set to test Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to exchange information and conduct financial transactions with their mobile phones at the Mobile World Congress coming up on 25-28 February in Barcelona, Spain.
The NFC experience at the largest world's telecoms conference and exhibition gives operators from around the world opportunity to experience the latest technology that allows subscribers make mobile payments with their mobile phones to a contactless device. NFC builds upon radio frequency identification (RFID) systems by allowing two-way communication between endpoints.
NFC devices can be used in contactless payment systems, similar to those currently used in credit cards and electronic ticket smart-cards, and allow mobile payment to replace or supplement these systems. For example, Google Wallet allows consumers to store credit card and store loyalty card information in a virtual wallet and then use an NFC-enabled device at terminals that also accept MasterCard PayPass transactions.
"We're excited to launch the NFC Experience for Mobile World Congress, as it provides attendees to the event the opportunity to experience first-hand the power of NFC technology both throughout the Mobile World Congress venue, as well as in the city of Barcelona," said Michael O'Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. "We hope that all attendees will take advantage of the many benefits of NFC, from venue access to retail transactions to transport, among others."
The GSMA will showcase an integrated range of mobile NFC services. Attendees with NFC-enabled handsets will be able to take advantage of NFC technology at locations throughout the Fira Gran Via and in the city. NFC touch points will be abundant throughout Congress, rewarding those who 'tap' with instant access to information such as downloads on the conference sessions and keynotes, as well as information on restaurants and tourist attractions around Barcelona itself.
The NFC Experience features a dedicated zone in the heart of Congress Square which will be one of the key locations to visit and see NFC-enabled handsets and their capabilities as well as gaining information on the NFC ecosystem, NFC smart posters, NFC partner pods and a dedicated NFC support function and more than a dozen NFC Interactive Zones located along the walkways, entrances and exhibition halls.
As at April 2011, several hundred NFC trials have been conducted. Some firms have moved to full-scale service deployments, spanning either a single country or multiple countries. Multi-country deployments include Orange's rollout of NFC technology to banks, retailers, transport, and service providers in multiple European countries, and Airtel Africa and Oberthur Technologies deploying to 15 countries throughout Africa.