Orange launching contactless payments in UK, France, Spain and Poland in Q2

Orange is the fastest European operator to adopt contactless payments. The France Telecom-owned company plans to bring NFC-enabled services firstly in the UK, France, Spain and Poland, with plans to expand to other Orange markets across Europe at a later point.

The company is starting with the Bada-powered Samsung Wave 578 — which we covered yesterday — but the plan is to add more NFC-enabled devices in the future. As a matter of fact, Orange expects that by the end of 2011 over half of all new smartphone models to be added to its range for Europe will be optimized for mobile contactless services. Moreover, the carrier is also taking advantage of a new generation of SIM cards for user identification.

The press release goes on talking about the NFC-enabled Orange Cityzi Pass service that allows Orange customers in Nice, France to pay for local urban transport and shop in more than 1,000 shops using nothing but their phone. Additionally, the service also supports loyalty, couponing and tag reading.

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