RIM and Telefónica, owners of O2, have announced plans to collaborate on a service that’s called Telefónica Wallet – a tap-to-pay system that’s designed to work on NFC-equipped BlackBerry phones.Telefónica is due to roll out a trial with 350 of its employees at its HQ in Spain next year. The field test will include making payments at banking and financial institutions, retail and food stores and also how the NFC’ed BlackBerry phones can be used “in lieu of a security card to gain physical access to the Telefónica headquarters office.”
So the pre-pub mantra of ‘keys, wallet, phone’ might one day be replaced with simple ‘phone phone phone.’
Julio Linares, COO from Telefónica said, “We have chosen the BlackBerry solution for this pilot because of the security that the platform brings. RIM’s participation has been key for this pilot project, and we are now planning to extend the project to more and more Telefónica employees around the world.”
Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at RIM backs this up with: “RIM is committed to supporting the advancement of NFC and its many applications in the market. We have a strong partnership with Telefónica Group and we are very proud to participate in this important pilot, which allows people to use their BlackBerry smartphone in place of separate physical cards for mobile payments and building access.”
Keys, Wallet, Phone
Currently, it’s the BlackBerry Bold 900, Curve 9360 and Curve 9380 that make up RIM’s NFC line-up.
The Telefónica Wallet app apparently replicates a real wallet graphically, showing the different cards available to the user. Once you pick your a card, you’ll then be able to select an option to enable a transaction, or view up the balance on your BlackBerry phone.
Back in May, O2 announced its intentions to roll out a mobile wallet service that was due to be ready by the end of 2011. Later, plans were announced for a cross-network “single ecosystem for m-commerce” using NFC, although further details on these have yet to be announced.
Presumably, this tie-in would see O2’s UK partners (including Visa Euope) getting on board with the Telefónica Wallet at some point.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the Curve 9360 were also recently given the greenlight for Mastercard PayPass, further strengthening RIM’s position in the NFC m-commerce field.