At a bloggers meet held today, Maxis announced that it will supporting NFC-related services in a big way. With more supported devices such as the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Xperia S and HTC One X coming into the market, now looks to be the right time for an operator to come in to tap into — pun intended — the capabilities of NFC.
Currently in Malaysia, NFC usage is limited to transferring contacts and URL links but with a proactive operator like Maxis working with with partners like Touch n Go and banks, the potential for NFC to offer so much more can be realised.
Mark Dioguardi, the joint-COO at Maxis, said that the operator is looking to offer NFC-based payment services sometime in second quarter of this year. Digouardi mentioned that the Maxis is currently working with Touch N Go and a “big bank” to make the service available to its subscribers.
Back in 2009, Maxis pioneered NFC-based payment services called FastTap. The service which integrated Touch N Go and Maybank Visa Wave services received lukewarm response due to the very limited selection of NFC-capable devices at the time. Because of this, users who wanted to use the service had to purchase a dedicated phone — in this case, the Nokia 6212 Classic — to be able to make payments using NFC. This presents a step cost of entry for users and make the service unattractive to subscribers.
Now that more and more devices are being offered with NFC built-in, there is a massive potential for the technology to be widely adopted in Malaysia. The soon to be launched NFC-based service from Maxis will allow users to use supported smartphones much like a Touch N Go card to make payments for public transportation, tolls and even for fast food. The service can be further enhanced with in-billing reloads or even by linking to the users credit card allowing for a seamless payment experience just by using your smartphone.
We’re really excited about this and its great to see that an operator is making such a bold step to offer this service to users. We’ll keep a close eye on developments and will let you know once we have more details of the upcoming service.