Using our mobile phones as wallets is closer to reality. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this morning, Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile USA, says it will unleash the capability to its customers this year.
The first customers to get the full payment system are those subscribers in Germany and Poland. The U.S., Netherlands, and Czech Republic will follow in 2012. Deutsche Telekom said it expected customers to use their phones in place of cash, and eventually in place of tickets for public transportation systems.
The payment system will be run and billed by the carrier, but it requires phones with NFC, or near-field communication, chips embedded inside. The chips allow data to be sent wirelessly over very short distances, around 4 inches. So when a customer waves his phone over a payment terminal, a transaction can be recorded.
But which handset manufacturers will get on board first? Beyond the Nexus S Android phone, few phones have the chips currently embedded. That's where reports from the press conference get really interesting. According to bloggers who were in the room, Deutsche Telekom executives handed out a slide deck that listed manufacturers it expects to launch NFC-equipped phones this year: Apple sometime this year, Samsung in the second quarter of the year, followed by RIM and LG during the third quarter. … Read more