At last night's media launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II, I managed to ask VP of Telecommunications at Samsung, Tyler McGee about the lack of NFC in the Australian version of the phone. Turns out, Samsung hasn't completely ruled out releasing the NFC version in Australia if the market has a need for it.
According to McGee, the problem is that the market isn't ready for the technology yet. Even with Woolworths' announcement it'll be introducing NFC terminals this year, that's only part of the equation. Until Visa or Mastercard officially launch an AU friendly NFC payment app - which will probably involve partnerships with the banks - Samsung didn't think it worthwhile to release the NFC version of the Galaxy S II in Australia yet.
The good news is that should the situation change, Samsung are ready to bring the NFC-enabled phones into the country. After all, they already exist, they just need to ship a container load to Australia.
That news may not satisfy the early adopters who wanted to future proof themselves, but it is good news for the potential rollout of NFC in Australia in general.