The decision by the consortium behind the Isis mobile payment system to open up the service to the likes of Visa and Mastercard will provide a significant boost to the market for mobile phones with NFC functionality, according to research by IHS iSuppli.
AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA have now switched their strategy from one where they sought to develop their own mobile payments service to one where they intend to collaborate with established players in the payments market.
"By partnering with the dominant players — Visa and MasterCard — the wireless carriers are making the right moves to create an ecosystem that will allow consumers to become comfortable with making NFC payments through their cell phones," says iSuppli's Dr Jagdish Rebello.
"The carriers hope to leverage the dominant position enjoyed by Visa and MasterCard in credit card payments to ensure a seamless consumer experience when customers use their mobile phones to make payments. Such a move will drive an increase in unit shipments of cell phones with embedded NFC capability in the United States and around the world."
IHS iSuppli now predicts 93.2 million NFC-equipped cellphones will ship worldwide in 2011, up from its December forecast of 79.8 million. In 2014, 411.8 million NFC cell phones are forecast to ship, compared to 220.1 million in the previous prediction.
Shipments then will rise to 544.7 million in 2015, says iSuppli, so that 30.5% of all cell phones shipped that year would come with NFC capabilities.