O2 calls for rivals to back NFC


O2 is looking to its rivals to help roll out near field communications (NFC) technology on the conclusion of the largest trial of its technology.

The network has proposed an "industry taskforce" aimed at bringing together other networks, manufacturers and key players in the transport and finance sectors to speed up the rollout of NFC as a mobile service.

The six-month ‘O2 Wallet’ trial, concluded in May, saw 500 O2 customers use an NFC-enabled Nokia 6131 to use London Transport via a built in Oyster card and make small store payments with Barclaycard and Visa.

O2 head of NFC Claire Maslen said it was not about keeping the technology exclusive to O2, but bringing it to as many UK mobile users as possible.

Said Maslen: "This technology has to be open to the wider industry, although we are in a good position as the leaders of NFC in the UK. But customers need to have the best experience, no matter where they are."

Maslen added the service was aiming to be ready for deployment in 2012, coinciding with the London Olympics. She said retailers also needed to be encouraged to take up the technology, especially larger ones.

There would also be opportunities for loyalty card schemes to become embedded in the application.

She concluded: "In theory, any card in your wallet could be on your mobile. To make this a reality we need to work across industries with a shared vision of future commercial services."