Operators cooperate to spearhead NFC initiative in Hungary

Payment services based on near field communication (NFC) technology will be made available in Hungary via an agreement between the country’s three mobile operators, who will work together to develop NFC infrastructure.

The operators – Telenor, Vodafone and Magyar Telekom – have formed an alliance with loyalty card provider Supershop, OTP Bank and MasterCard, under the name of the Hungarian Mobile Wallet Association. Other firms are welcome to join as partners.

The stated goals of the association are to “design and articulate” the framework for NFC specifications, to provide “the necessary education” needed for widespread NFC adoption, and to launch initiatives geared “towards the successful implementation of the service”.

Currently, the association plans on running NFC trials during 2011, with the goal of making services commercially available next year. This could place Hungary ahead of much of Europe in terms of NFC technology, although the cooperation between mobile operators is similar to NFC agreements in other European countries including the UK and Denmark.

Cooperative agreements such as these are primarily motivated by a desire to avoid the complications of fragmentation, as well as the desire to provide an alternative to giant firms such as Google.

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