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ABI: 292M handsets to have NFC capabilities by 2012

Posted: 13 Apr 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:near-field communication? NFC applications? mobile handset market?

In its latest analysis of the NFC market, ABI Research predicts that by 2012, some 292 million handsetsjust over 20 percent of the global mobile handset marketwill ship with built in NFC capabilities.

According to the research firm, 2007 will be critical for NFC technology as key standards and operator trials complete the foundations for the first real deployments.

"NFC in mobile phones promises a quicker and easier way to execute a host of key tasks by just waving the phone," said senior analyst Jonathan Collins. "Making payments, unlocking doors, downloading content, even setting up wireless networks and many other applications, can all be enabled from an NFC handset."

However, early enthusiasm for NFC adoption in handsetsfuelled by its functionality and flexibilityhas been tempered by the complexity of the ecosystem required to support multiple, revenue-generating NFC applications.

ABI believes that NFC will not become widely available in the handset market until wireless operators are confident they will see a clear return from specifying NFC in their latest handsets. "As the dominant mobile handset purchasers in the world, mobile operators stand as the gatekeepers of NFC's entry into new handsets. And until they are comfortable with getting a return on the investment in those handsets, NFC will not reach a mass market," Collins said.

While the simplicity of NFC use reflects its lineage in contactless payment, ticketing and access control technologies, the multiple applications NFC facilitates bring a host of complexities and interoperability issues when it comes to creating the business relationships required to enable and manage NFC applications on each handset. Success in developing NFC relationships, primarily between card issuers, contactless transportation ticketing providers and mobile operators, will determine the speed and shape of deployment and consumer availability of NFC in handsets, ABI said.

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