Prospective RFID users are plunging ahead with wireless radio ID technology in the wake of retail and government mandates, a new report says.

AMR Research said 69 percent of the 500 companies it surveyed plan to evaluate, pilot or implement RFID this year. “RFID is still in its formative years,” said Dennis Gaughan, AMR Research’s research director, in a statement. “The market will be hotly contested across all technology segments from tags and readers through middleware and enterprise applications.”

The market research firm predicted healthy growth for RFID, too, forecasting the average corporate budget for the new technology will increase from $548, 000 to $771.000 by 2007. AMR said compliance issues are the key factor prompting most respondents to move towards RFID. And, many respondents cited concerns over attempting to justify RFID in terms of return on investment as an obstacle in moving to the emerging technology.

AMR noted that no single vendor has been able to establish a dominant position in RFID.

Although 69 percent of the surveyed companies plan to implement the technology this year, 18 percent said they have no plans at all to use RFID.

Early adopters already in full RFID deployment represent some 8 percent of the polled firms while another 23 percent are in pilot use, AMR said in the report.