Contactless mobile services: a decisive stage in the development of the digital society?

Paris, 22 February 2010

As part of its forward-looking efforts, ARCEP is working to anticipate future developments in the telecommunications market, and to prepare as well as possible for the use of new applications.

Following the second meeting of its Forward-Planning Committee last Friday, on changes in supply and demand, ARCEP is publishing a study on the emergence of contactless mobile services and their potential impact on the mobile telecommunications market.

After outlining some of the many applications made possible by the integration of an RFID chip in next generation mobile handsets, referred to as "contactless", this report offers elements of analysis on demand for these services and identifies some of the questions they may elicit. Finally, it offers a concrete look at the creation of corresponding ecosystems, in France and abroad, and the role that mobile operators could play.

Contactless NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is an international standard that will enable the development of a local economy, and whose own development is attracting a growing amount of interest. At the Mobile World Congress trade show that recently wrapped up in Barcelona, several handsets equipped with this technology were unveiled.

In Europe, the GSMA international association of mobile operators reached an agreement in January 2010 with the European Payment Council on the interoperability of payment services. Meanwhile, in France, the Secretary of State for the Development of the Digital Economy launched a mobile services portal on 18 February 2010 on which contactless technology is expected to play a key role, particularly in the development of human services. Contactless technology could also help in the area of home care and is part of the "Living at home: autonomy, inclusion and life planning" (Vivre chez soi : autonomie, inclusion et projet de vie) programme launched by the Secretary of State responsible for Senior Citizens. And, finally, the city of Nice will host a large-scale trial in 2010, while awaiting broader deployments at the national level.