Hungary’s three mobile operators — T-Mobile, Telenor Magyarorszag, and Vodafone Hungary — have joined together to launch a system which will allow clients to use their phones to pay for goods and services from the start of next year.
The move is intended to bring the country closer to global communications trends. The sector is currently battling to deal with fallout from the economic downturn and various special, sectorial taxes levied on telecommunications companies by the Hungarian government in its push to improve the country’s finances.
The system can allow consumers to pay with their NFC-enabled phones, as well as replace electronic smart card tickets such as those used in some public transport systems, including London’s Oyster card. They can also function as IDs that give access to buildings for a limited number of people.
By the end of next year, 80% of new smart phones sold will have NFC-capabilities, said Gyorgy Beck, president of U.K. mobile company Vodafone’s Hungarian arm. The only current drawback is that Apple’s iPhones are not NFC ready.