Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners told a business audience yesterday the company is in discussion with banks to deliver near field communications or micro payments.
“The infrastructure is there, we’ve been talking to banks about how you bring this on,” Stanners said at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle function. “The actual time frame would depend on how the devices start to embrace near field communications. These are just coming online right now.”
He reminded the audience that MasterCard is trialling contactless payments for small dollar amounts – that is transactions that can be made with no swipe or PIN card – during the Rugby World Cup.
He later told Computerworld that in New Zealand the banking systems are in place and the recent upgrade of eftpos terminals means they are of a standard that can enable contactless payment.
“Our interest is to make it based on using the SIM card, because SIM cards means you can take it to any phone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stanners said Vodafone and Telecom have spent millions of dollars upgrading coverage in stadia in preparation for the Rugby World Cup. He said fibre has been laid and miniature cell repeaters installed around large venues such as Eden Park to ensure adequate coverage during the game.
Rugby audiences are expected to use their smartphones to do perform tasks such as taking photographs during the game and sending them to friends via their mobile network, which will put enormous pressure on mobile network capacity.
“We’re ready for the Rugby World Cup. Let’s hope they spend a lot of money,” Stanners said.
Computerworld asked if the telcos expected to recoup the money in inbound visitor roaming fees, to which Stanners replied “maybe”.
He says the market, which is worth around a total of $100 million, has become very competitive in the last two years with the entry of Telecom’s XT network and 2degrees.