O2 has announced plans to launch an NFC service in the second half of 2011. For those who don’t know, NFC stands for Near Field Communication (catchy, huh?) and basically means you can pay for junk with your mobile.
The network has successfully trialed the service with a Nokia handset, however lots of new high-end phones have NFC support, including Android powerhouse the Google Nexus S. It’s rumoured that the iPhone 5 might have NFC capability too.
Before launch, O2 has to apply for an e-money operating licence from the FSA, though presumably that’s just a formality. In the worst case, they can always send Sean Bean round to rough them up.
Once it’s up and running, the service will allow users to make contactless payments at 60,000 UK venues, as well as customer-to-customer transfers.
O2 is keen to get things up and running before London is consumed by the 2012 Olympics.
The news follows the recent announcement from Orange and T-Mobile (ok, Everything Everywhere *sigh*) that it hopes to have NFC-enabled SIMs available next quarter, having teamed up with Barclaycard.