Monday, June 20, 2011
Last week, as reported by Reuters and other media, the Korea Communications Commission announced it would require mobile phone vendors to equip all smartphones with near field communication (NFC) technology, which allows wireless data exchanges at short range, letting people pay for goods, store electronic tickets, collect coupons by swiping a cell phone at a checkout or scanning tags on movie posters. So far, only two NFC-enabled handsets have been offered in South Korea -- Samsung's Galaxy S II and Pantech's Vega Racer -- and a lack of standardised settlement checkouts at retailers, and disagreements over fee-sharing structure and controlling customer information have prevented the industry from taking off. The commission said mobile operators and credit card firms had agreed to install or upgrade checkouts with NFC processing technology in retailers, fast food outlets, coffee chains and petrol stations, while card companies were offering discounts to customers using mobile payment services to promote the industry. "Mobile payment technology has been available since early 2000 but it failed to take off for various reasons ... but today's agreement is a small step toward mutual growth going forward," the head of the Korea Communications Commission said in a statement.