The Inevitable NFC Payments Battle Between Carriers and RIM Starts

NFC Payments

Carriers in the US have a history of killing any mobile payment technology. They did it first with SMS payments and then with carrier billing by charging upwards of 50% as a transaction fee. They have slowly seen the light on app stores since Apple took the market by storm and cut out the carriers from any profit. Still it took RIM over a year to finally force carriers to preload App World on BlackBerrys and RIM had to up their App World cut to 30% to cover the much higher carrier billing option they now offer.

This war seems to be brewing again with NFC (Near Field Communication) payments with carriers and manufacturers on either side. For once RIM is trying to run around carriers by baking the NFC tech into the phone itself and cutting out the middle man. Carriers are not happy with this and are trying to bake the NFC tech into the SIM card. These battling views will really heat up in the next 6 months since NFC looks like it stands a real chance.

According to the WSJ, North American carriers have been telling RIM to stop trying to run around them. Canadian carriers are supposedly telling RIM “Guys, you won’t be doing this.” It will be kind of interesting to see which way RIM goes. They have usually bowed to every carrier demand even when it hurt RIM. For example, RIM allows carriers like AT&T to push out 25+ spamware preloaded icons on my BlackBerry every time I register. Its horrible for the user experience!

The thing is that carriers control the mobile handset sales. If they don’t like what RIM is doing they could simply not offer BlackBerrys with NFC. That would put RIM in a real pickle. I kind of understand carriers wanting to make the NFC chip mobile and easy to swap between phones. On the other hand I can see carriers killing this by once again wanting 30%+ fees on each transaction.

What do you think? Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

7 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Straight up bullocks, carriers already pillage us with their monthly fees… Now they want to make more?

    Rim has it right!

  2. I can’t see the carriers winning this round – especially if RIM provides NFC as standard on all future phones. They’re not going to drop the RIM line entirely, it’s too profitable.

    Too – it only takes one large carrier accepting this for the others to follow suit.

    • I hope you’re right Marc. But I’m betting it will take a service book for NFC to work on the upcoming OS 6.1 devices, and if the carriers block that service book from your device you’re locked out (without some service book hack). :(

  3. Unlike SMS payments there is nothing that the carriers can really offer as part of this to make their approach any better.

    RIM better not cave in to them, because Apple certainly will not…

  4. Carriers are already trying to make us pay twice for the same data plan when it comes to tethering! Now they want to charge twice again for a technology that comes already with the phone and the service attached to this technology won’t even be provided by the carriers! They are getting extremely too greedy!

  5. Maybe I don’t understand how NFC will work. Will wtv u buy be added to your monthly bill like when u buy a game or is it going to be set up to come out of your bank or visa or some other account ? I don’t see how or why the carriers are involved if I’m buying 200$ worth of drinks at a bar one night and its coming out of my visa or bank account. If its all going to be added to my monthly wireless bill why would they want to get involved with trying to collect that 200$ worth of drinks on top of my monthly bill?

  6. Greedy carriers are trying to screw us consumers out of every last penny they can. AT&T is already whining that this “4G” upgrade is costing them billions in capital investment. My response to that is “Finally, I get to see some enhancements for the large sum of money I drop every month in service fees”.

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