The European Commission has received a proposal from Apple to open up NFC on the iPhone and is now collecting public feedback on these commitments. This proposal comes amid an investigation that has focused on Apple’s restrictive practices related to Apple Pay, in particular, the company’s control over access to Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology for contactless payments using mobile devices.

The Commission’s preliminary findings indicate that Apple has significant market power in the market for smart mobile devices and a dominant position in the market for mobile wallets on iOS. Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet that has access to the necessary hardware and software (NFC) on iOS devices to make mobile payments in physical stores, which is not available to third-party mobile wallet developers.

To address these competition concerns, Apple has proposed several commitments:

  • Allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access and interact with NFC functionality on iOS devices through a set of application programming interfaces (APIs), without the need to use Apple Pay or Apple Wallet.
  • Застосовувати ці зобов’язання до всіх сторонніх розробників мобільних гаманців в Європейській економічній зоні (ЄЕЗ) та всіх користувачів iOS з Apple ID, зареєстрованих в ЄЕЗ, не перешкоджаючи використанню цих додатків для платежів в магазинах за межами ЄЕЗ.
  • Apply these obligations to all third-party mobile wallet developers in the European Economic Area (EEA) and all iOS users with an Apple ID registered in the EEA, without preventing the use of these applications for payments in stores outside the EEA.
  • Establish fair, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria for granting access to NFC to third-party mobile wallet developers.
  • Create a dispute resolution mechanism to review Apple’s decisions to deny access to NFC.

These commitments, if accepted, will remain in effect for ten years and will be monitored by a trustee who will report to the European Commission. If Apple fails to fulfill these obligations, it may be subject to a fine of up to 10% of the company’s global turnover.

The European Commission is now inviting interested parties to express their views on Apple’s proposed commitments within one month of their publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The full text of the commitments is available on the website of the Competition Commission.

This investigation is part of a broader effort by the European Commission to assess whether Apple’s behavior with Apple Pay violates EU competition rules. The Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation in June 2020, and in May 2022 sent Apple a statement of objections informing the company of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position by restricting third-party access to NFC technology for contactless payments.