Deutsche Telekom rolling out NFC payments with T-Mobile USA, other markets this year; NFC iPhone along for the ride?

At its press conference at Mobile World Congress today, Deutsche Telekom -- the German parent of T-Mobile subsidiaries around the world -- mentioned that it'll start launching NFC payment systems in handsets across multiple markets starting this year with full deployments in 2012. T-Mobile USA will be included in the action through the Isis initiative announced in late 2010 in partnership with AT&T and Verizon, but here's where it gets particularly interesting: DT execs apparently name dropped Apple during the live event for a 2011 launch. Of course, there's no shortage of rumors that the next-gen iPhone will include some manner of NFC capability, and it certainly seems like an Apple endorsement would work wonders in taking the technology to a new level of consumer acceptance. Follow the break for the full press release -- it doesn't mention Apple, interestingly, so it's entirely possible that this was an executive slip-up. More on this as we have it.

Update: Rich from Phone Scoop wrote in to let us know that the Apple mention was in a slide deck handed out during the conference, not verbalized by executives. Interesting!

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Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress 2011

Feb 15, 2011
Growth field of mobile Internet: focus on customer experience

First EU-wide flat rate for data roaming

Networks as a basis for the 4G experience

Mobile payment and mobile advertising ensure growth

Deutsche Telekom continues to emphasize the growth field of mobile Internet. The company is presenting numerous new products and services for this area at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The focus here is on a great customer experience. From March, Deutsche Telekom will start its data roaming offer "Travel & Surf", and will offer Internet access from EUR 1.95 per day in all European Union countries. Deutsche Telekom customers can, if they are travelling in the EU, benefit from the first real flat rate for data roaming. For EUR 14,95 a week, virtually unlimited surfing in the EU will be available as of this summer.

During 2011, the company will introduce new services in the fields of mobile payment and mobile advertising. In the hardware area, Deutsche Telekom will focus on smartphones which everyone can afford and, with the "move by T-Mobile", is providing a competitively-priced Android smartphone which strengthens the trend towards mobile data traffic in the lower price segment.

"Key to all our innovations is to always provide our customers with a great experience. This will give us a strategic competitive advantage," says Edward R. Kozel, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Deutsche Telekom. "In order to increase our speed of innovation, we will be working even more intensively with partners and streamlining in-house processes."

Networks as a basis for 4G experience

The volumes of data transferred in the networks continue to grow because customers are using increasingly diverse and more complex applications in the telecommunications networks. Deutsche Telekom is well-equipped for this development. "The data traffic in our European networks has increased sevenfold in the last three years," Kozel continues. "With our Telco plus strategy, we are getting Deutsche Telekom in shape for the gigabit society and ensuring future growth."

A basis for the new customer experience is the extensive expansion of mobile communications networks. In the USA, large parts of the T-Mobile network have already been expanded with HSPA+ to speeds of up to 21 Mbit/s. The aim is to reach 42 Mbit/s during the course of the year. At the same time, the availability of HSPA+ to customers in Europe is being massively increased. Deutsche Telekom's customers in Germany, Poland, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro can already get 21 Mbit/s mobile Internet access in most locations. In Germany and Austria, the available speed will be doubled to 42 Mbit/s in 2011. Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia and Macedonia will upgrade their networks to 21 Mbit/s later this year.

"For us, 4G primarily means a flawless user experience for our customers across various technologies," says Kozel. "The key feature of the 4G experience is that our customers will always automatically be able to use the fastest connection currently available, on state-of-the-art, high-performance, intuitive devices. It won't matter whether this connection is based on WiFi, LTE or HSPA+."

Promising an even faster and more user-friendly mobile Internet experience for its customers, Deutsche Telekom is significantly expanding its offering of WiFi public access points for wireless Internet. Finally, new apps for the major smartphone platforms make using the hotspots vastly easier.

Strategic fields of mobile payment and mobile advertising ensure further growth

With the start of Deutsche Telekom's "Mobile Wallet" in 2011, the cell phone will become a virtual wallet. Deutsche Telekom customers will in future only have to hold their cell phone to an appropriate reader in order to pay for goods, buy tickets for events or regional transport or take part in bonus programs. A new technology - Nearfield Communication (NFC) - is making this possible. As a result, no change at ticket machines and defective magnetic strips on cards will be a thing of the past. The area of payment systems is an important growth driver for Deutsche Telekom and the company will continue to expand it internationally.

Deutsche Telekom is already active in mobile advertising in more than ten European markets. In order to strengthen the international position even further, new formats and channels are set to be developed this year, while marketing will begin in additional countries. T-Mobile USA will also launch the first offerings on the North American market in 2011.

The technology behind these offerings is a new globally standardized platform that meets all core requirements while also allowing the integration of local features. To integrate additional advertisers and information providers, Deutsche Telekom is now working in partnership with mobile advertising specialists, Vienna based Out There Media. The goal is to be one of the leading providers of mobile advertising in every Deutsche Telekom market.