Telefonica begins BlackBerry NFC trial

“We look forward to seeing the launch of commercial wallet services in several markets next year,” says the CEO of Telefónica Digital.

RIM's Jim Balsillie and Telefonica's Julio Linares
WORKING TOGETHER: RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie and Telefonica COO Julio Linares

Telefónica Digital and Research In Motion have announced they are working together to pilot test a Telefónica Wallet for BlackBerry NFC smartphones. Commercial launches are expected to take place in several countries during 2012.

The initial pilot will take place with 350 employees at the mobile network operator’s Distrito Telefónica headquarters, where the company is already conducting an extensive NFC trial in collaboration with a number of local banks and retailers. Those taking part in the test will be able to make payments with a BlackBerry phone as well as use their NFC device to gain physical access to the headquarters office.

“We have chosen the BlackBerry solution for this pilot because of the security that the platform brings,” says Julio Linares, COO of Telefónica. “RIM’s participation has been important for this pilot project, and we are now planning to extend the project to more and more Telefónica employees around the world.”

“We are getting ever closer to the point where our customers will be able to take the contents of their wallets and put them on their mobiles,” adds Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital. “Trials such as this are important to ensuring a great customer experience and we look forward to seeing the launch of commercial wallet services in several markets next year.”

Three BlackBerry models are being used in the trial — the BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Curve 9360 and BlackBerry Curve 9380. All three include embedded NFC secure elements, but Telefónica is not making use of them. Instead, NFC SIMs issued and managed by Telefónica are being used as the secure element.

“RIM is committed to supporting the advancement of NFC and its many applications in the market,” says RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie. “We have a strong partnership with Telefónica Group and we are very proud to participate in this important pilot.”

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