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Singapore awards national NFC infrastructure contract

Singapore’s IDA has awarded the contract for a national NFC infrastructure to a consortium including mobile network operator StarHub, DBS Bank, public transportation card issuer EZ-Link and NFC technology provider Gemalto. Commercial services are due to go live in mid-2012.

IDA Singapore
IDA: Put out a request for proposals for its NFC system in November 2010

Government agency The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has awarded the contract for creating a national NFC infrastructure to a consortium including mobile network operator StarHub, transportation card issuer EZ-Link, DBS Bank and NFC technology provider Gemalto. Commercial services are due to go live in mid-2012.

The contract award follows a tender put out by IDA last year for an open trusted third party (TTP) infrastructure that would enable any business in Singapore to offer services to local consumers and the successful completion of a trial conducted by the consortium partners. The trial involved 1,000 participants who, the partners say, “expressed excitement over the prospects of the services.”

StarHub now plans to both offer NFC mobile devices to customers and “will also look for more payment and service partners to collaborate on unique services that simplify and enhance StarHub Mobile customers’ lives at work, at home, and for leisure.”

“StarHub is proud to provide innovative mobile payment services for our customers as we strongly believe in offering the best solutions and unique experiences for our customers,” says Yeong Mun Ling, StarHub’s vice president of business strategy. “With the launch of the NFC, our mobile customers will enjoy a highly engaging and convenient experience as they use their NFC enabled mobile handsets for contactless services such as transit, shopping, ticketing, social sharing, and much more.”

DBS, meanwhile, plans to make NFC “an integral part” of its suite of mobile banking and payments offerings. The bank currently has 330,000 customers using its m-banking services as well as 6,000 contactless acceptance points for transport, shopping and dining.

“Advancements in mobile technology and the adoption of smart devices over the recent years have had a major influence on the consumer’s lifestyle,” says Sim S Lim, country manager for DBS Singapore. “As part of our continuous innovation, we are proud to add NFC to our comprehensive suite of mobile banking solutions that includes online banking, protection, rewards and payment.”

EZ-Link will be enabling Singapore citizens to store their EZ-Link cards on their NFC phones and will also be converting all existing and new EZ-Link acceptance points to accept payments via NFC phones.

“EZ-Link is happy to be working with DBS and StarHub towards introducing a NFC-enabled solution to our consumers as we believe that, by combining the mobile phone, NFC mobile payment and the EZ-Link purse, we are creating a powerful proposition for Singaporeans, adding a combination of innovation and convenience to their lifestyles,” says Nicholas Lee, the company’s CEO.

Gemalto will act as the trusted third party for the national infrastructure. It will both provide and operate the trusted services management (TSM) system for Singapore and will provide solutions for payment, ticketing, loyalty and other wireless services including smart posters.

“With Singapore’s three mobile operators all connected to this interoperable NFC infrastructure, banks, payment and service providers will be able to deploy innovative mobile NFC services to all mobile subscribers,” says Gemalto. “This open yet secure platform will also encourage widespread participation by businesses and service providers from wide-ranging industries to join the ecosystem to offer more consumer services, including mobile coupons, mobile tickets and product information.”

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