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SK unit forms NFC alliance

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Published : 2012-06-18 20:17
Updated : 2012-06-18 20:17

Group of six tech companies aims to boost mobile payment market


SK Planet, a Korean mobile platform operator, has formed a business alliance with six other Korean tech firms to boost the technology and use of near-field communication in Korea.

The six, which each has its own technological specialization in NFC, are: SK C&C, Ubivelox, QnSolv, Mcom, Harex Infotech and AT Solution.

The newly launched alliance is called “NFC Biz Partner Group,” noted SK Planet, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of SK Telecom, Korea’s largest mobile carrier.

Together the group has the capability to develop and manage NFC-related technologies and applications such as a universal subscriber identity module, mobile payment and tags.
Kim Soo-il (center), senior vice president of SK Planet’s commerce business unit, poses with other executives from the company’s six business partners after forming an alliance to promote NFC-based mobile payment.

It plans to support developers to create applications on SK Planet’s open-source platform for NFC, which is based on radio-frequency identification technology used for financial settlements via smartphones embedded with USIM cards.

NFC is relatively new in the mobile tech arena, but is fast emerging as one of the most efficient parts of smart devices. However, due to the new concept, the group also plans to offer tech support and consulting for the service industry which has been experiencing some difficulties in adopting this mobile payment solution.

As a start, it backed Samsung Card and Shinsegae to commercially launch NFC-based mobile payment services.

The SK subsidiary, with its partners and developers, will expand the infrastructure of its open-source platform, tentatively named “Smart Touch,” ahead of its official launch next month.

SK C&C, an IT outsourcing firm whose largest shareholder is chairman Chey Tae-won of SK Group, will help establish the platform with its affiliate SK Planet.

Ubivelox, a software developer for banking and automobiles, has the capability to develop USIM applications. Hyundai Motor is the second largest shareholder of Ubivelox.

QnSolv has know-how in mobile tag development, while Mcom has a partnership with SK Planet in the operation of retail shops for smart payment services.

Harex Infotech is the application and service provider of mobile payment, and AT Solution develops applications for credit card and banking services.

By Park Hyong-ki (hkp@heraldcorp.com)

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