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!