UAE Will Soon Have Near-Field Communication

united arab emirates NFCNear-field communication would soon be available in the United Arab Emirates.  This was announced by Mohamed Al Ghanim, Director General of UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.

Al Ghanim made the confirmation in a reply to a question on Twitter.

Al Ghanim also indicated that mobile operators will work with financial institutions and banks when it comes to NFC transactions.  This is not the first time that near-field communication technology has been heard in the country though.

Our sister site has reported that Etisalat has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE’s Emirates Identity Authority in the hopes of launching NFC-based identification programs.  Etisalat hopes to be the one to provide ID card services to UAE residents and expats.  It will be implemented in a trial run that will last for a few months before being launched on a commercial basis.

Meanwhile Emirates NBD was reportedly set to unveil MoneyMobile, which makes use of NFC technology to facilitate payments.  Even if it is still in test run, this was the first time that the UAE was able to see NFC in action.

Emirates NBD together with its partners, Etisalat, Visa and Gemalto gave their employees NFC-enable phones to try out the payment technology.   Emirates NBD related that they will be looking at the customer experience during the test run and incorporate changes and enhancements before launching to the public.  MoneyMobile aims to enable customers to pay for their purchases just by waving their mobile phones in front of Visa’s PayWave terminals.

If you are wondering why NFC is still not available in the UAE, do not be surprised. Ordinary services such as Skype and other Voice over IP services are still not available in the country.  Al Ghanim, however, signaled that such services would be available pending the resolution of licensing matters.  In the same Twitter Q&A, Al Ghanim expressed hopes that VOIP services come to the TRA for a license.

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