Several mobile phone operators are collaborating on an initiative aimed at achieving a common approach to short-range wireless technology in mobile phones that can be used for contactless applications such as ticketing and billing.
Vodafone Group, Telefonica Moviles and China Mobile Communications are among the 14 Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators that have joined a project to enable Near Field Communications (NFC) in wireless handsets, the GSM Association, which is coordinating the project, said Monday.
One of the goals is to build on the secure billing and identity relations that operators have with their customers through the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card, which is located inside the handset and contains users’ unique information.
NFC has evolved from a combination of radio frequency identification (RFID) and interconnection technologies. It enables any two devices to connect and exchange information or access services by bringing them together over a distance of a less than 10 centimeters.
Earlier this year, the German public transportation authority Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) launched one of the world’s first commercial wireless ticketing services based on NFC technology, in collaboration with Nokia, Koninklijke Philips Electronics and Vodafone.
But a broad rollout of NFC has been hampered by a lack of clearly defined NFC standards to ensure international interoperability, according to the GSM Association. Its NFC project aims to help create standards by developing business cases and user requirements that will be incorporated in a white paper for consideration by standardization bodies, including the NFC Forum and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
The NFC Forum, which promotes the standardization and implementation of this new short-range wireless technology, was launched by Philips and Sony, which jointly developed NFC. Additional information is available here.
-John Blau, IDG News Service (Dusseldorf Bureau)
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