Up to 300,000 NFC-enabled points of sale are set to be installed in South Korea and all smartphones must include NFC capabilities by the end of 2011, Reuters has reported.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said an agreement signed today between mobile operators, credit card firms and others would be a "small step toward mutual growth going forward".
KCC said mobile operators and credit card firms had agreed to install or upgrade NFC-capable checkouts 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.
While only two smartphones — the Samsung Galaxy S II and Pantech's Sky Vega Racer — on sale in South Korea currently have NFC capabilities, KCC added it expects the new initiative to boost NFC-enabled phones to more than five million units in the country this year.
The announcement is a significant step in turning the vision of the newly formed Grand NFC Korea Alliance into reality. NFC World reported last week that the group would bring together a wide range of leading Korean businesses and government organisations with the aim of building an NFC-based service infrastructure, testing 'mobile smart life' projects and enabling Korean firms to take leadership positions in the next-generation mobile payment and application services market.
Signatories of the memorandum of understanding include SK Telecom, KT, LG U +, Shinhan Card, Hyundai Card, KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card, SK Card, BC Card, Visa, MasterCard, Korea Smart Card, KICC, NICE, KS-Net, KISA, and the Korea Wireless Internet Service Provider Association.