Vodafone to launch Mobile Wallet in 2013

Mobile payments

Vodafone is to embark on an ambitious global rollout of NFC-powered mobile wallets to smartphone users next year.

The company has partnered with mobile commerce company CorFire to put its mobile wallet product CorPay on smartphones to allow users to pay for goods and services via their devices with a downloadable app.

CorFire said it would be "providing mobile wallet capabilities to Vodafone Group, enabling Vodafone's customers to use their smartphones to conduct a number of transactions, including paying for goods and services at the point of sale, during 2013.

The service will begin in Germany and Spain next year before branching out to other European countries including the UK. It will offer the service in other countries over the next five years.

The service can work with NFC and non-NFC enabled phones and encrypts and stores personal information in a "Secure Element". The service will allow users to store multiple payment card types and could eventually expand to add other applications such as travel cards, supermarket loyalty cards and building access cards.

"Vodafone's customer base spans across more than 30 countries, which means our partnership may become one of the biggest, global implementations of NFC and mobile commerce," said Dr. Jae Chung, CorFire's president and chief executive.

He added: "We will bring tangible benefits to consumers and pave the way for financial institutions, transit authorities, merchants, and enterprises to leverage the mobile channel to expand their customer reach."

Vodafone will use smart-chip manufacturer Gemalto as its trusted service manager (TSM) and NFC SIM provider.

"With the experience of dozens of TSM deployments worldwide, Gemalto brings significant accumulated expertise from both the telecoms and banking sectors," said Philippe Valle, executive vice president of telecommunications at Gemalto.

Christian Wirtz, Vodafone Group's mCommerce Director said that the consumer benefits of contactless payments are obvious and the industry in Europe is now at the beginning of rolling out a contactless infrastructure.

"The potential of mobile to transform existing industries such as financial services, retail and transport- is enormous," he said.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.