Fun things are afoot at the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Spain.
Today’s news comes from Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of cell carrier T-Mobile. The corporation announced that it’s rolling out the ability to make payments with a near-field communication (NFC) enabled smartphone starting this year. Throughout 2012, the full payment system will be rolled out in the US through a previously announced joint venture with Apple and Verizon.
The system, to be known as T-Mobile’s Mobile Wallet, will let users make payments simply by waving an NFC-equipped phone near a payment kiosk. The company believes that mobile payments that replace cash, such as buying a 72-ounce Slurpee at the local Kwik-E-Mart, are going to be the most popular form of transaction, followed by the ability to use the Mobile Wallet to pay for ticket transactions on public or private transportation.
Some of the other capabilities of Mobile Wallet include the ability to get customized coupons on your phone, and support for loyalty programs such as supermarket discount cards. Since losing an NFC-equipped phone would be akin to losing a wallet, security features are included to protect against phone theft or loss. There’s no word on whether the NFC capability will be built into future iPhones or if a special case will be required.