The launch follows an announcement in June 2013 that Russia-based Alfa-Bank was to test NFC in both Russia and the Ukraine in partnership with Vimpelcom, Kyivstar's parent company, and MasterCard. The partners are using UpTeq NFC SIMs supplied by Gemalto for the pilot.
Some 200,000 of Kyivstar's 25m subscribers are currently equipped with an NFC phone and there are an estimated 22,000 contactless payment terminals available in Ukraine.
"Kyivstar is committed to delivering an outstanding mobile payment experience," says Alexey Kireev, the carrier's head of new business development. "Our goal is to continue developing mobile finance products at Kyivstar extensively in 2014. We are glad to be working with one of the world's most trusted partners for NFC."
NFC "offers Alfa-Bank customers a trendy, ubiquitous payment method," adds Piotr Kaczmarek, director of retail business at Alfa-Bank Ukraine.
"With the booming in contactless equipment at the point of sale in the country, this is the perfect timing for mobile payment introduction," says Gemalto's Philippe Cambriel.