US operator Sprint is to include NFC as a standard feature in all its LTE handsets apart from the lowest priced models. The news follows the announcement earlier this week by the operator at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) of two new NFC-based LTE handsets. In an interview with Light Reading, Trevor Van Norman, Sprint’s director of consumer product marketing, said the operator has aggressive plans to push NFC to subscribers through LTE handsets, although the cost of NFC chipsets may rule out their inclusion in the cheapest devices.
Earlier this week in Las Vegas Sprint said it would launch two NFC-based LTE smartphones: Google’s Galaxy Nexus (pictured) and LG’s Viper 4G LTE. Both will support Google Wallet, the search giant’s mobile payment service. Currently the only handset supporting the mobile payment service is the Samsung Nexus S 4G.
Sprint is the only operator supporting Google Wallet at present. The three largest US mobile operators are working together on the rival Isis venture. Sprint’s Van Norman says the operator is “leaving most of the NFC service up to Google” but says Google Wallet is still “good business” for the carrier. Unlike Isis, Sprint does not receive transaction fees from Google Wallet but does get a share of redeemed coupons or Google offers, says the Light Reading story.