RIM And Carriers Gear For NFC Payment Information Battle

Is RIM gearing up with a fight with carriers regarding mobile payments? That's the latest on the street, and based on the facts, we too agree that a battle is in store. The reason? Money, as always. As NFC chips become more and more popular, mobile payments are set to boom in North America. Near Field Communication is a widely used technology in other parts of the world, but it's just now starting to blossom in the U.S. The dispute is apt to happen between handset makers like RIM and carriers; the carriers have been fighting for years to not become "dumb pipes." Apple is already exploiting AT&T and Verizon Wireless by allowing iPhone users to tap into their networks to download apps. Basically, the carrier hosts the service so that the user can download an application, but the carriers are not compensated any extra for that feat.

Carriers want the exploitation to end there. If they have their way, they want vital payment information embedded in SIM cards, so that regardless of which phone a user buys, the payment data (and potential revenue) is embedded in a carrier's SIM card. RIM wants the opposite. They want the data embedded into the phone, giving users the ability to change carriers while still retaining their existing phone and data. And so, the fight begins.

Right now, it's more of a cold war. No one is really coming and stating that this idea will not be supported. But analysts are suggesting that carriers will be a halt to the plans should RIM decide to embed NFC data directly in a secure area of the phone rather than on a carrier's SIM card. The end result of this battle is important to pay attention to. If RIM succeeds, it's great news for consumers who are tired of being tied down to contracts with carriers who are attempting to control the entire experience. Should carriers win out, the opposite is true. It sounds like a pretty small issue in an of itself, but big precedents are at stake here.