French incumbent Orange has begun offering NFC-enabled SIM cards nationwide in preparation for what it calls the “mass deployment” of mobile contactless services. The UpTeq NFC SIM cards are supplied by Gemalto and are the first SIMs on the market to offer the same security level as chip-based payment or smart cards, the firms said.
Orange, which claims to be the first European operator to roll out this technology on a national scale, said it plans to rent slots on the SIMs to service providers, including banks, retailers and transport providers, which is in line with the GSMA’s suggested model of NFC service operation.
“The solution will allow any service provider to dynamically manage its own security domain in the card and to load, personalise and update its related NFC applications remotely over time,” Orange said.
In adopting this stance, Orange places the burden of innovation and uptake on the service providers. Earlier this year the firm’s director for contactless services, Vincent Barnaud, told Telecoms.com that Orange had run successful trials with hotels, airlines and car rental companies and that the firm believed the “service providers are ready to go if and when there is a customer base ready to use [NFC].”
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