NFC services will begin in Germany and Poland in 2011 and in the US, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic in 2012. In Germany, the operator looks set to offer its own payments service but in other countries it will partner with other operators or with banks, depending on market conditions.
Following Deutsche Telekom's announcement last week that it will begin commercial NFC services in 2011, the telecoms giant has now provided details of when its T-Mobile and other mobile network divisions will launch NFC services in particular countries and has outlined the kinds of business model it plans to employ.
Commercial services will begin in 2011 in both Germany and Poland, where Deutsche Telekom recently became the sole shareholder in mobile operator PTC, owner of the Era brand. In both countries, Deutsche Telekom says "it is planned to start the first NFC services on a common platform" — suggesting that other mobile network operators in those countries are also poised to begin commercial NFC services in the near future. Orange, for instance, said earlier this week that it would begin offering the new Samsung Wave 578 NFC phone in Poland from the second quarter of this year.
Deutsche Telekom is already working with other mobile operators in Germany, including Vodafone and O2, to provide the Mpass SMS-based payments service. And, in Poland, there are plans to introduce an NFC-compatible contactless ticketing system for stadium access to the European Football Championships in 2012.
In the US, the launch of T-Mobile NFC services will take place in 2012 in conjunction with AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, the mobile network operators' partners in the Isis NFC joint venture. The Czech Republic and the Netherlands, where T-Mobile is part of a joint NFC initiative involving the country's leading banks and mobile operators, will also see commercial launches in 2012.
"The area of payment systems is a major driver of growth for Deutsche Telekom," says Thomas Kiessling, the company's chief product and innovation officer. "We have continuously invested in this business, and will continue to expand it — nationally and internationally."
"After the acquisition of the internet payment service company Firstgate with its Click & Buy brand in 2010, Deutsche Telekom will successively introduce a whole portfolio of innovative and competitive payment solutions for customers and retailers starting in 2011," Kiessling added. "Applications include paying over the internet as well as remote and proximity mobile payment."
Exactly how T-Mobile will deliver mobile wallet solutions in each country is, however, still to be completely decided. The company may "have financial relationships and perhaps own a financial entity" as demand for the transactions and associated services grows, Deutsche Telekom's CTO has told Bloomberg. "Just as easily, we could have a deep and dramatic partnership with a financial institution," he added, in order to help handle the requirements of large-scale mobile payments.