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Singapore issues request for proposals for national NFC TSM

IDA, the government agency tasked with implementing a national NFC infrastructure for Singapore, is requesting proposals from consortiums to create and manage a next-generation open trusted third party infrastructure that all the country’s banks, transport operators and other service providers could use to deliver NFC services.

Singapore IDA

SINGAPORE: Seeking proposals for a national trusted third party infrastructure

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has issued a Call for Collaboration (CFC) to companies interested in creating and managing a national near field communication infrastructure for Singapore.

The winning consortium will be responsible for establishing the most open trusted third party (TTP) infrastructure to be developed so far and IDA has published detailed specifications of how the infrastructure should be constructed to ensure that it is fully open to all.

Proposals must be submitted by 1 February 2011 and IDA expects to announce the winning bidder in May or June 2011. The service is then required to be up and running with at least two payments service providers and at least two mobile network operators or other secure element issuers within eight months of the contract being awarded — meaning that commercial services are due to begin at the beginning of 2012.

The CFC aims to achieve the following outcomes, says IDA:

  • The establishment of an interoperable, secure and scalable TTP infrastructure that provides an open and cost effective means for mobile subscribers to access NFC mobile services from any service provider.
  • A vibrant and sustainable multi-application NFC ecosystem, beginning with development of NFC mobile payment services.
  • Widespread adoption of NFC mobile services by merchants and consumers.

“Consortium may comprise a combination of companies including, but not limited to, a TTP operator, banks, payment service providers, mobile network operators, secure element issuers,” IDA explains. Individual companies can be members of multiple bidding consortiums, but each consortium must have one leader responsible for submitting the proposal on behalf of all members.

Singapore’s banks, telecoms networks and transit operators first gave the go ahead to IDA to work on the creation of a national trusted third party in February 2009. In December that year, the Singapore government made a S$16 million (US$12.3m) grant available to subsidise the cost of local merchants switching to contactless card accepting terminals. The aim was to quadruple the installed base of contactless POS terminals by 2011, from the then 5,000 to almost 24,000.

The ‘Deployment of Interoperable Mobile Near Field Communication (NFC) Infrastructure and Payment Services Call for Collaboration (CFC)‘ includes a detailed 66-page document outlining the goals and requirements of the winning bidders. Two further documents are also available on request: Annex B sets out the technical and operational requirements of the system while Annex C explains the framework for NFC-enabling Singapore’s existing Cepas contactless electronic purse system.as well as detailed specifications of the technical capabilities that the bidding consortia will need to meet.

The document explains that the selection criteria will include, but won’t be limited to, the following:

  • Competence of participant/consortium, including the breadth of services offered, consumer reach, technical expertise and financial strength to complete the project.
  • Comprehensiveness and effectiveness of proposal, including the ability of the TTP infrastructure, NFC devices, secure elements and NFC mobile services to comply with all stated requirements.
  • Assurance of interoperability, including the commitment of the participants on open access business models.
  • Sustainability of the business model, including the overall fee schedule to service providers, MNOs and secure element issuers, revenue from projected transactions and plans to generate revenue growth through encouraging new connections and new NFC mobile services.
  • Business impact, including the number of consumers and merchants adopting the NFC mobile services as well as the effectiveness of the marketing plans to ensure sustained usage and encourage growth of new NFC mobile services.

Interested parties are invited to attend a public briefing being organised by IDA which is expected to take place on 1 December. The briefing will cover details of the CFC, including events leading to the final award of the CFC, and what IDA expects proposals to include.

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