Public NFC trial still in pipeline

Wireless payment through mobile phones is still underway after "encouraging response", according to two Singaporean operators.

SINGAPORE--Public trials are still in the works for the two local operators' plans to launch NFC phones.

Last year, both StarHub and SingTel announced plans to trial phones that would enable wireless payment, by embedding a near-field communication (NFC) chip in handsets.

NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology commonly deployed in a chip and embedded in handsets such as mobile phones.

StarHub, which paired up with wireless payment vendor EZ-Link, launched a six-month trial involving some 1,000 subscribers in October last year, said it is in the midst of monitoring usage and collecting feedback from users.

A StarHub spokesperson said in an e-mail interview: "The response has been encouraging. We will finalize our plans after the completion of the trial."

Rival operator SingTel, partnered Nets (Network for Electronic Transfers of Singapore) to launch its internal trial a month earlier than StarHub, which is slated to end in 2007.

A SingTel spokesperson confirmed trials involving its employees have concluded, but could not comment on when the public trial--also expected to span six months--will commence.

"We are currently evaluating the findings. This is to allow us to fine-tune the processes before launching the public trial," said the spokesperson told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview.

Taiwan Mobile launched a similar trial early last year, and Malaysia was chosen by Nokia and Visa to run a four-month trial back in 2006.