Any Samsung and/or Visa sponsored Olympic athletes and trialists around? If so, chances look good that you will receive a Samsung Galaxy S III soon because Samsung and Visa yesterday announced that the Samsung Galaxy S III, which Samsung unveiled last week in London, will be Samsung's Olympic Games Phone during the London 2012 Games. But it won't become the Olympic Games Phone only but a limited edition showcase device enabled with Visa's mobile payment application, Visa payWave, will be available for Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes and trialists, making it possible to buy merchandise with a wave of the device at thousands of retail locations throughout London.
As you might remember, the Galaxy S III comes equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) payment capability and is said to be the next step in the partnership between the two global Olympic Games sponsors as they work together to drive the availability of commercial mobile payments around the world.
"Mobile payment services enabled by NFC technology are gaining momentum around the world. The Samsung Galaxy S III has been created with our human needs and capabilities in mind and is the ideal device to showcase the ease and convenience of Visa's mobile payment application at the London 2012 Olympic Games," said DJ Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing team of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business.
By the time of the Olympic Games there will be more than 140,000 contactless terminals around the UK. From the moment visitors land at Heathrow they will be immersed in a contactless payment experience with everything from taxis, to retail outlets, to the Olympic Park itself.
The showcase device is supported and enabled by London 2012 Games partner Lloyds TSB in the UK.
Visa payWave for mobile allows users to simply select the Visa icon on their mobile device and hold the phone to a contactless payment terminal to pay. Purchases above £20 require a passcode. The application also allows customers to check their transaction history and view their account balance.
NFC technology has been adopted by payment networks, banks, merchants, mobile device manufacturers and mobile network operators as the global standard for mobile payments. NFC is already becoming the norm: Berg Insight reports that annual global sales of NFC-equipped handsets has increased ten-fold to 30 million devices in 2011 and is forecasted to reach 700 million units by 2016. In addition, an estimated 20 countries are expected to launch NFC services in the next 18 months, resulting in transactions approaching $50 billion worldwide by 2014, according to Juniper Research.
Samsung, the Worldwide Olympic Partner for Wireless Communications Equipment, and Visa, the Worldwide Olympic Partner and exclusive payment services sponsor, will be demonstrating this new payment innovation with the Galaxy S III in the Olympic Village and throughout London for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
PS: If you neither have a Samsung Galaxy S III nor being an athlete, don't bother. You can still make your contactless NFC payments with your credit card, doesn't matter if it's Visa or Mastercard.
Cheers ~ Arne