O2 is expanding its near-field communications team as it prepares to launch mobile payments services later this year.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the company said mobile payments will "become a reality in the UK during 2011" and the operator expects to launch commercial mobile near-field communications (NFC) services "during the second half of the year". As a result, the O2 Money team is recruiting for 14 new roles, the spokesperson said.
NFC, the technology that powers contactless payment systems including bank cards and travel cards, is increasingly being built into mobile phones. In December, , Google unveiled its NFC-enabled Nexus S smartphone and Android 'Gingerbread' 2.3, the latest version of its mobile operating system that now supports some NFC functionality. Google is also reportedly working on its own mobile payments system.
The O2 Money team will not only be working on mobile payments — the operator is planning to launch its own credit cards and other financial products, the spokesperson said.