Orange is set to become the first operator in the UK to allow customers to pay for goods with a swipe of their mobile phone, after signing a strategic deal with Barclays.
The mobile group's parent company, Everything Everywhere, said the nation's first commercial contactless mobile payments service would be rolled out by early summer. Gerry McQuade, the chief development officer at Everything Everywhere, called it "the beginning of a revolution in how we pay for things on the high street".
Shoppers will be able to buy goods and services at more than 40,000 retailers by waving their phone in front of a contactless reader, the companies said yesterday. These readers can already be found in outlets such as Pret A Manger and Eat.
The "wave and pay" system will use Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology whose use is set to soar, according to mobile companies. Google already has NFC in its Nexus S handset, and it has emerged that Apple is likely to use the technology in the forthcoming iPhone 5.