Here in the United States the race is on to get a contactless mobile payment system incorporated into the business world. Several are looking at Near-Field Communication (NFC) as the way to go, since many Smartphone’s all ready have the chip or will have the RFID chip this year. Maybe we should look at the French system. France has been doing this since 2010.
Orange is the eighth largest telecom operator in the world and had more than 189 million customers in late 2009. France Telecom is using Orange for its mobile network operator and internet provider service. In May of 2010 Orange launched Cityzi Pass in the city of Nice, just south of France.
This was a wide scale operation on Oranges’ part to promote contactless mobile services in Europe. They offered customers who had certain Orange accounts, huge discounts on the Samsung Player One Cityzi Smartphone. This would enable them to purchase and redeem tickets for public transport, pay for purchases and get loyalty points, all on their Smartphone.
It also let the customers get free mobile internet, just by using the Cityzi Pass. To make it a smoother process Orange even set up a dedicated customer service department to help coordinate with suppliers and provide the best possible customer service to people obtaining and using the new services. The trial period for Cityzi Pass ends at the end of June.
France mobile network operators have committed to distributing over one million NFC phones this year, under the Cityzi brand name. The French government has also funded large scale trials of Cityzi Pass in nine other cities. The Executive Vice President of Orange commented they were working hard to create a network to support NFC services on a global basis.
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