With circulating rumors that Apple will eventually introduce an iPhone with NFC technology, South Korean carrier KT Telecom is taking matters into its own hands. KT has launched the iCarte 420K NFC case for the iPhone 4.

Developed by Canadian company Wireless Dynamics, the $63 iCarte gives the iPhone Near Field Communications capabilities with the carrier’s online payment service/digital wallet and South Korean credit card companies.

KT Telecom:

“With the recent launch of NFC-enabled smart(phones), iPhone users were showing increasing needs for NFC services, Hyunmi Yang, executive vice president for integrated customer strategy at KT, said in a statement. As a global leader of NFC services, KT plans to provide more convenient and differentiated NFC services to its customers.”

KT’s service includes a prepaid “transit card” that allows iPhone users on the network to use their smartphone as a method for payment on the go. The nation’s credit card companies are expected to jump on board with service as early as next month.

This South Korean carrier only has 1.9 million iPhone customers, and executives plan to sell 25,000 iCarte attachments. Subscribers will be able to use the iCarte at public places like local restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues. Some merchants will even offer discounts for KT’s NFC service customers.

The carrier’s executives noted that they believe that Apple will introduce an iPhone with an embedded NFC chip next year.


  • “This South Korean carrier only has 1.9 million iPhone customers”. Why? Because to them, an iPhone is like a Nokia to us. They had NFC way long before anyone knew what it is. And their cell phones are so advanced. I don’t get how here in US, we don’t have technologically up-to-date phones.

    • kurt

      im in korea and i use NFC to pay for taxis, metro, buses. and i have another NFC ‘key’ to get into my apartment building. i wave it near the sensor and the door unlocks. i came to korea 5 years ago and nfc has been here before i got here. not sure how long but T-Money has been in use for a while. i like it. but i don’t want it in my phone. i prefer it on a chip in a card. this way i have my wallet with me every time i leave the apartment. but i sometimes forget my cell phone. see how that can be a problem?

      • Kent

        Yeah, but I’m sure that if it was the main way to pay for things, you wouldn’t forget it as much as you do now 😉 haha.