ISIS NFC Mobile Payments Handsets Announcement – Whither Nokia?
No, this isn’t another attack on Nokia’s market position (for non-old-English readers “whither” means “‘to which place”) i.e. where is Nokia heading in NFC mobile payments? It refers to the US mobile payments consortium, ISIS, announcing its line-up of NFC-capable handsets - HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung Mobile and Sony Ericsson. So where is Nokia in all this? It’s surprising to find Nokia missing from the list, as it was among the first (if not the first) to announce NFC handsets a few years ago. Well, maybe a few clues are in other Nokia news last week. In the UK, Nokia talked up NFC use in the retail market for smart posters and brand recognition with the comment that NFC for payments was four years away. And in India, its Symbian Belle loaded NFC ready smartphones are being launched to pick up promotional cinema tickets with Nokia’s Mobile Money also pre-loaded ready for a move to payments downstream. So it seems as if Nokia sees NFC payments in second or even third place to NFC retail marketing and ticketing applications. These are just the issues we at Juniper look at and produce tantalising headlines like “1 in 5 Smartphones will have NFC by 2014” – but don’t say what they will be used for (you have to read the report for that). It’s a good question, and the answer as usual, starts with “it depends …” In this case it depends on where in the world you are looking, hence our regional forecasts. Perhaps there’s a clue in Nokia’s apparent NFC application and regional focus – maybe it’s not so important for them to be prominent in the US payments market after all.