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20m Koreans to have NFC phones this year

Five million Koreans already have an NFC phone, says mobile network operator KT, and payments for bus, subway and taxi fares are the most popular NFC applications.

KT NFC payment

KOREA: Paying for a taxi with NFC

Five million NFC phones are now in use in Korea, according to mobile network operator KT, and that number is expected to rise to 20m by the end of 2012.

Public transportation and advertising applications are expected to be major growth drivers this year, the carrier adds. A prepaid transit card application preloaded onto NFC phones, allowing users to pay bus, subway and taxi fares with their mobile phone, is currently the most popular NFC application, says KT. The service is now expanding nationally and a credit card version is to be added in 2012.

12,000 bus stops in Gyeonggi Province have now also been equipped with NFC tags, providing customers with local bus service information on their NFC phones, and smart posters are now being introduced into subway carriages, providing brands and passengers with interactive advertising and information services.

“More and more NFC service users are using NFC services regularly when they use public transit,” says KT executive director Hyun mi Yang. “KT will provide various NFC smartphones in its line-up and develop differentiated NFC services next year.”

KT first launched its “Olleh my Wallet” NFC service in October 2010. Last year, the company added support for iPhone users via iCarte cases and began offering the Olleh Stamp loyalty programme for merchants. KT is also a founder member of the Grand NFC Korea Alliance, which aims to put Korean firms at the forefront of NFC technology globally and recently introduced an NFC Shopping Zone to Seoul’s busiest shopping district.

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