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World needs mobile phone wallets, cries trade body

Near-Field Comms standardisation required

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Everyone should be able to use their mobile phone like a wallet as soon as possible, the world’s trade group for the mobile industry has demanded.

The GSM Association (GSMA) wants Near-Field Communication (NFC) – the principal technology required to turn phones into digital-cash dispensers - to be built into commercially available mobiles from mid-2009.

It claimed that this will enable the public to “reap the benefits of mobile payment services”.

To help the rollout along, the group’s board has put its support behind the need for a standardised interface between a phone’s SIM card and the embedded NFC chipset.

Development of a standardised interface – called the Single Wire Protocol – would “ensure greater accessibility of NFC services for mobile users”, said Rob Conway, the GSMA's CEO.

Trials of pay-by-mobile are already underway in many countries around the globe, including the UK, the US, France and Australia. But Japanese folk have been able to use their phones as wallets for some time already, while residents of one German town can pay for bus rides using their mobile phones.

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