GSMA Boss Is Optimistic about NFC Growth


This year’s GSMA NFC & Mobile Money Summit was held from Oct. 14th to 17th. Anne Bouverot, director-general of the GSMA, opened this year’s event with a declaration that NFC is finally starting to achieve scale and commercial success.

“Mobile NFC provides a critical link between our digital life on our smartphone and the connected world around us, as it becomes the primary tool to carry our wallet, identity, keys, music, books, photos, tickets, loyalty cards, mail, itinerary and much more,” said Bouverot.

She pointed to commercial deployments in countries such as Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Poland, Singapore, Turkey and across Western Europe. “We expect to see successful deployments in around 10 additional countries in the first quarter of 2014,” she noted. “Operators are enabling their mobile customers with exciting and innovative mobile NFC services, working alongside companies in the banking, retailing and transport sectors.”

Despite industry skepticism surrounding the potential of the much-hyped technology, Bouverot is adamant that demand for NFC is growing globally. “More than 70 million NFC SIM cards have been shipped to operators as of the middle of 2013, according to the SIM Alliance,” she stated. “Shipments in 2012 grew 87 per cent from the previous year. While Japan, Korea, and Western Europe have dominated SIM shipments to date, North America is gearing up.”

Bouverot also sees NFC being used for a wide range of applications beyond mobile payments. “For instance, an NFC-enabled rail ticket might make your handset vibrate when your train has arrived in the station,” she suggested. “In a retail store, your NFC handset could remind you about any relevant vouchers you have and offer to redeem them when you reach checkout. And mobile NFC is digitizing ticketing, payments, vouchers, loyalty programs, access control or even the simple act of exchanging business cards. This saves us time and money and enriches our lives.”