Gemalto Enables Commercial Mobile NFC Transport and Payment Rollout in Hong Kong

Gemalto a leader in digital security, announces it has worked with PCCW-HKT, one of Hong Kong’s major mobile network operators, and Octopus Cards (OCL), a leading contactless smart card payment service provider in the world, to bring the security and convenience of mobile NFC ticketing to its subscribers, as well as a number of additional value-added NFC services.

Gemalto’s UpTeq multi-tenant NFC SIM will enable PCCW-HKT subscribers to load the Octopus payment functions onto their mobile NFC devices for payment in Hong Kong’s public transportation and retail services, as well as other purposes, such as Octopus’ access control and loyalty applications.

With more than 23 million Octopus cards in circulation, Octopus delivers a broad range of micro-payment services to 95% of Hong Kong’s population. The Octopus Mobile Payment Service is the world’s first commercial SIM-based implementation and deployment of the FeliCa application on NFC SIMs. FeliCa is a multi-purpose technology originally developed for payment and transportation applications in Japan, in an effort led by Sony and NTT DoCoMo. It is today broadly used in Japan, and in other countries, particularly Hong Kong.

The mobile NFC ticketing service allows commuters to pay for journeys on all of Hong Kong’s public transport systems, including the metro, rail, bus, ferry, coach and tram, as well as paying for fares on minibuses and taxis that accept Octopus. Using their selected and tested Sony NFC-enabled smartphones as an e-purse, commuters will be able to top up their Octopus Mobile SIMs via any of the Octopus readers in Hong Kong. In addition, users can conveniently pay over-the-counter at retail shops, food and beverages outlets, as well as purchase entrance tickets at selected entertainment venues. Drivers will also be able to pay for their parking using their mobile NFC phones.

Alex Arena, Group Managing Director of PCCW-HKT, said: “Our co-operation with OCL to provide Octopus mobile payment service integrating NFC technology, which is the first such service in Hong Kong, is another example of HKT’s efforts to enrich the lifestyle of our customers, who can now enjoy convenient, effective and secure mobile payment under Octopus’ extensive transport and retail coverage all over Hong Kong.”

“Hong Kong has the second-highest population density in the world and also one of the most developed multi-modal public transport networks,” Sunny Cheung, CEO of Octopus Cards, said. “We are pleased with the roll out of Hong Kong’s first Octopus Mobile Payment Service using designated NFC smartphones on transport infrastructure as a key to shifting consumer behaviour towards the widespread use of mobile contactless services, and towards providing an additional, simple and attractive usage method of our public transportation system by local users.”

“The mobile wallet offers daily commuters yet another convenient option for mass transit usage and payment, complementing the well-known and so popular Octopus contactless card success,” added Michael Au, Senior Vice-President of Telecommunications at Gemalto Asia. “In addition to our NFC expertise, we are also bringing here our global experience in public transport, having deployed multi-application contactless transport cards in more than 30 large and mega-cities, servicing many millions of inhabitants worldwide every day. This first commercial implementation of the FeliCa application on NFC SIMs will open up new business opportunities outside of Hong Kong and I look forward to seeing transport services act as a catalyst that boosts NFC adoption among consumers globally and provides the associated reward to the leading transport, mobile and payment operators who deploy it first.”

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