Sources at several of the largest mobile operators in the UK told the paper that Apple had disclosed in meetings that it would not be including 'wave and pay' technology in the upcoming iPhone 4GS/iPhone 5.
One source close to the discussions said: "The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry."
The source said that Apple is instead working on a limited, closed-loop proposition that would link mobile payments through iTunes.
If confirmed, Apple's decision to hold fire on NFC will leave the field clear for Google and the card schemes to forge ahead with their own mobile deployments. Nonetheless, Apple's absence from the scene will discourage the hopes of m-payment proponents for a near-term mass-market move to the new technology.