Thirty million near field communication (NFC)-enabled phones were shipped in 2011, which is a 10-fold increase since the previous year, according to new research.
According to research firm Berg Insight, shipments of NFC-enabled handsets will increase to 700m units in 2016.
The firm believes that NFC technology, which allows users to swipe a device over a terminal to share data or pay for goods, reached a ‘breakthrough’ in 2011 when several mobile vendors launched more than 40 NFC-enabled handsets.
However, it said it will still be awhile longer until the technology becomes widely used for mobile payments.
“Even though it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks, other use cases such as reading tags and easy pairing of devices may well be compelling enough for handset vendors to integrate NFC in mid- and high-end devices already today,” said André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight.
Earlier this month, Juniper Research predicted that NFC could facilitate transactions valued at US$74bn worldwide by 2015.
It believes this figure is more than three times the estimated value of the market in 2011.