O2 UK, which in November gave Near-Field Communication-equipped (NFC) handsets to 500 people so that they can trial contactless payments, reports nine in 10 of the users enjoyed the experience. The carrier issued Nokia (NYSE: NOK) 6131 handsets to users of London’s Underground, which is already equipped with the Oyster wireless card payment option, so they could enter train platforms by swiping their phone over the gate receiver.
So the appetite is there, but no-one seems to know how exactly this stuff will get to market. O2 NFC head Claire Maslen: “That’s the million-dollar question.” Reuters: “Even in Japan, m-commerce accounted for less than one percent of all retail sales in 2006. Fitting out retailers with NFC gear on a scale large enough to make it worth consumers’ while would be expensive and complicated.” Maslen wants to create a multi-industry “taskforce” to take the practice forward.