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Telefónica And RIM Announce NFC Payments Trial in Spain

By Martin Schuppelius

Telefónica, one of the largest telecommunications companies worldwide, and Canadian-based handset manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) have announced a trial program of the Telefónica Wallet for BlackBerry phones.

Telefónica will roll out its Wallet solution to 350 employees at its corporate campus in Madrid, Spain. Employees that are part of the pilot project will also be able to pay by tapping their smartphones against an NFC-reader. They can also use their BlackBerry phones to gain physical access to their offices. Partners participating in the pilot include local banks and retailers such as food stores and gas stations.

The service uses SIM card based Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a solution that was recently standardized by the GSMA. It still requires a compatible phone with an NFC transmitter as the SIM card only provides a secure identification platform. Currently, only BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Curve 9360 (they are also certified as MasterCard PayPass-approved devices) smartphones are supported.

The Telefónica wallet aims to replace the physical wallet in the future. Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO Telefonica Digital, commented: “We are getting ever closer to the point where our customers will be able to take the contents of their wallets and put them on their mobiles. Trials such as this are important to ensuring a great customer experience and we look forward to seeing the launch of commercial wallet services in several markets next year.”