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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 7 September 2007

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NETS and SingTel to launch Singapore's first NFC trials


NETS and SingTel to Launch Next Generation Mobile Payment Applications
New Trial Service to Feature Asia’s First NFC Stored Value Purse with Over-The-Air Capabilities
Singapore’s leading electronic payments provider, NETS, has teamed up with Asia’s leading communications provider, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), to announce the republic's first Near Field Communication (NFC) trials.
By including a stored value wallet with Over-The-Air (OTA) capabilities, which covers wireless downloads and top-ups of stored value to NFC phones, the trial becomes a first in Asia.
This trial, conducted with wireless technology (through OTA capabilities), will make use of mobile phone technologies and applications to further improve user convenience through the use of their mobile wallets. This initiative will speed up Singapore’s move towards a cashless society.
Under the payment solution being planned, SingTel users will need to download a mNETS application, which will allow them to store and top up value on the mNETS payment application in their phones any time. Users will then be able to make payments using NETS FlashPay by flashing their SingTel mobile phones at NETS contactless terminals islandwide.
NFC is a combination of identification and wireless technologies that enable an NFC device to “talk” to another NFC or NFC-compatible device. NFC is based on an industry and ISO standard by the NFC Forum comprising major phone manufacturers. It is compatible with NETS retail terminal infrastructure.
"The NFC trial by NETS and SingTel will blend NETS’ leadership in cashless payments with SingTel’s quality network and knowledge of the mobile phone technologies. Users no longer need to open their physical wallets to make purchases of small items. We believe that this technological platform is one of NETS way of making our users’ life great," said NETS CEO Poh Mui Hoon.
SingTel’s Executive Vice President of Consumer Business and CEO of SingTel Mobile, Mr Quek Peck Leng said, "We are excited to introduce our mobile wallet concept and we are pleased to work with like-minded strategic partners like NETS on mNETS services. NFC technology on a mobile device brings a total new dimension to how mobile customers use their handsets and will improve customer experience at point of sale."
"SingTel plays a vital role in the mobile NFC value chain by providing and enabling a leading edge infrastructure that is both trusted and reliable. Our technology expertise has helped ensure the smooth convergence of this nascent NFC technology with the mobile environment."
Once the public trials commence later this year, SingTel users can download mNETS via GPRS and follow up with the topping up of their mNETS payment application. The mNETS wallet allows the user to store value up to S$500.
Topping up of the mNETS wallet will be equally convenient. SingTel users can make use of the existing wireless infrastructure to top up their mNETS wallet. Users can top up to S$40 per phone, per day, using their pre-registered credit cards from DBS, OCBC or UOB during the trials.
At the point of purchase, users can then make payments using NETS FlashPay by simply flashing their mobile phones at NETS contactless terminals.
NETS' CEO, Ms Poh added, "The NFC will be the next big thing for electronic payments. We anticipate that with the alliance with SingTel, we will be looking at three out of ten mobile phones being NFC compatible in 2012 and users can use mNETS services to make contactless payments."
Mr Quek added, "Our vision is to enable as many applications as possible onto the mobile wallet and we are working towards implementing mobile NFC for security card access, loyalty cards, redemption of mobile or merchant coupons and storing of contact details, for instance."
One other application under mNETS will be the mNETS Coupons, an electronic coupon that can be downloaded with a NFC enabled phone to provide the SingTel user with discounts and freebies. A simple flash of NFC enabled mobiles on mNETS Posters or billboards will download the mNETS Coupon with the promotion. There will be over 400 outlets at participating merchants, including Cheers and FairPrice Xpress, K Box, Cathay Cineplexes and Yoshinoya Restaurants.
mNETS Coupons will open up new business and marketing opportunities for NETS and SingTel merchants.
The mobile payment initiative is part of NETS’ and SingTel’s vision of bringing mobile payments to Singaporeans. NETS is studying this initiative under its broader mNETS strategy which will make mobile payments pervasive across the economy.
"OCBC Bank is pleased to be part of this mNETS initiative. This move by NETS is commendable as it can truly make cashless payments hassle-free for consumers. We certainly see mNETS as a natural conduit to complement our efforts in providing convenient alternatives in mobile payment and banking for our customers to match their increasingly mobile lifestyles," said Mr Patrick Chew, Head of Delivery, OCBC Bank.
Mr Eddie Khoo, Executive Vice President and Global Head of UOB Personal Financial Services said: "We are pleased to be NETS' partner for this trial. We are also especially excited over the prospect to offer cardmembers yet another means for them to tap on a credit card to facilitate transactions. This trial certainly marks another milestone for UOB. It reinvents the way a credit card can be used and reflects the dynamism of a UOB credit card."
NETS aims to enable the mNETS payments for use in Transit come 2010.
NETS and SingTel, plan to start a staff trial in September and a public trial in fourth quarter of 2007. The NFC technology and OTA applications used in this service are developed by ViVOtech Inc. USA.

Source: Press Release 4 Sep 2007

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