Mobile payment ventures must make progress now--or else
Collaborations between European operators to drive the launch of contactless payments and other mobile services based on near field communications (NFC) technology sprang up all over Europe in 2011, as operators spooked by the announcement of Google Wallet stepped up efforts to secure their piece of the pie. A year later, and progress so far can only be described as "limited." The Sixpack alliance in the Netherlands no longer exists, and the UK venture with the working title of 'Project Oscar' has only just gained much-delayed approval from the European Union, to name two recent developments. At the same time, Google Wallet has not yet gained widespread traction in Europe.
Analysts warn that operators need increase the momentum soon if they want to take a leading role in the area of NFC-based mobile services, particularly payments. "Not many ventures have demonstrated good success so far," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, noting that penetration of NFC smartphones is also still too low to make it meaningful for a wide adoption of the service. Special Report