Lack of handsets delays launch of commercial NFC services in Dubai

Mobile network operators Du and Etisalat have had to put back their planned NFC commercial launches due to a lack of NFC phones, the operators have told Emirates Business 24|7.

Etisalat and Du logos
ROADBLOCK: Etisalat and Du cite low handset availability as the reason for delaying their commercial launch of NFC

Dubai-based mobile network operators Du and Etisalat have had to put their planned commercial NFC service launches on hold due to a lack of handsets, of terminals and of NFC SIM cards, the operators have told a local business publication.

Etisalat first announced plans to launch NFC services in October 2009 in partnership with Emirates NBD and Du has been running an NFC trial at The Walk, a 1.7km beachfront shopping promenade in Dubai, since December.

“Telecom operators are at a standstill as pilot projects are not able to kick off into commercial deployments,” Etisalat’s Rashed Majed Al Abbar has told Emirates Business 24|7:

“Telecom operators globally and regionally are waiting for mobile phone manufacturers to launch commercial handsets. There are only test models in the market. These companies were supposed to launch by the end of third quarter last year. However, they have cancelled their plans in the roadmap for this year. There are no specific plans on the NFC or any replacement.”

Mitchel Roda, senior manager, marketing (payments) commercial, Du, said: “Handset manufacturers are aware of the problem but they don’t seem to be anxious to launch NFC phones. There are all mixed message from them as few of them have delayed the launch.”

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