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NFC calling: The Indian context

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 2, 2012

A trend setting in the global operator community is focused and driving the standardized deployment of mobile NFC using the SIM as the secure element to provide authentication, security, and portability. Many handset vendors and mobile payment platform makers are tying up to make NFC a reality. Samsung Electronics has announced a NFC chip, Broadcom has unveiled a new family of NFC chips, Nokia has launched NFC enabled handsets in association with PayMate, HID Global in association with Sony has jointly developed contactless smart card reader platform. Back home, DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) also has been in talks with NXP to explore how NFC can be deployed for ticketing through mobile in Delhi Metro. The more the merrier for a quicker adoption. However, the interoperability between players in the eco-system is very critical to the widespread adoption of NFC, enabling users to benefit from NFC services regardless of operator network or device type. Thus NFC enabled handset vendors and mobile payment platforms need to collaborate and create NFC platforms more aggressively.

NFC is definitely making inroads into the Indian market but slowly and gradually. RBI, recently approved daily transaction limit of Rs.50,000 through mobiles to encourage contactless payments in India. Considering the Indian scenario, where demand and the need stand at the bottom of the pyramid and where m-banking (banking the unbanked with the help of mobile) still needs to attain its full bloom; NFC, which is considered a technology for elites (urban population which is quite low as compared to rural population in India), is many levels up this pyramid. The RFID chips are yet to be deployed by the chipset makers on a mass scale. For technologies like NFC to successfully gain strong foothold in the Indian market, there are still other blocks to be placed right for this puzzle to get its final shape, there are many unanswered questions for the industry to solve such as
• Adoption of NFC by consumers who are already cluttered with a plethora of technological innovations
• Future of NFC as a sustainable business venture
• Deployment and development of the required infrastructure for these devices
• The business case for infrastructure required for this technology to be feasibly deployed in India.

NFC mobile payments still hold immense opportunity for their growth in the Indian market when it comes to contactless payments in the urban India. Although NFC is a relatively new technology, its adoption will sky rocket over the next few years.

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