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The outlook is becoming less optimistic for NFC

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While the industry's top mobile payments providers like PayAnywhere and Square continue to grow their massive empires, NFC technology hasn't enjoyed similar runaway popularity and adoption.

To the surprise of some industry optimists, Strategy Analytics has lowered its outlook for NFC-based mobile payments.

The reduction, we're told, reflects the slow pace at which operators are pushing NFC payment services, limited NFC payment deployments by handset makers, and the continued slow adoption of contactless payments by retailers.

The analysts now estimate that 115 Million NFC handset owners will spend just over $48 Billion using their NFC phones by 2017.

Although $48 Billion is a large amount it represents a drop in the ocean of the multi-trillion dollar global retail sector.

The healthy growth in sales of NFC handsets has yet to be matched by the adoption and use of handset based NFC payments services, with many mobile operators pushing back the launch of NFC-based mobile payment into the final quarter of 2013 or in to 2014 and beyond.

"With the exception of China, where we see some momentum from China Mobile deploying its mobile wallet service, fewer mobile operators than anticipated launch NFC payment services in 2013," says Nitesh Patel, Director of the Wireless Media Strategies (WMS) service at Strategy Analytics. "Furthermore, handset OEM Samsung, which announced its strategic partnership with VISA Inc. in February 2013 has yet to officially offer a secure payments service based on that relationship."

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