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M-commerce: World Standard on SIM-based NFC

  • The GSMA has released a world standard on the implementation of SIM-based NFC. This standard defines common APIs for mobile phones and should enable “global deployment of secure, interoperable and ubiquitous SIM-based mobile NFC services”.
  • Sectors such as payments, ticketing, access control (cars, hotel rooms, etc.), loyalty coupons and entertainment services are primarily targeted.
  • 45 world leading mobile operators have committed to comply with this standard: among these, China Mobile and China Unicom, US ISIS members (AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon) as well as the main EU operators, including French ones.
  • The GSMA gathers 800 mobile operators worldwide. Its focus on standardisation also paves the way for the deployment of international third parties’ SIM-based apps. These apps can also be combined to enhance merchant service management and improve customer experience. In the transportation sector, mobile phones can be used to propose geolocated services, enable payments and, if relevant, send coupons or access keys. In the hotel business, they can be used as electronic keys with scalable lifespan depending on the duration of stay.
  • Nevertheless, the so-called SIM-centric model is already being challenged in the EU and North American markets. The increasing popularity of Smartphones, for which contactless enablement does not necessarily rely on the SIM card, has opened the way for simpler models with enhanced features. The SIM-based model mostly seems to be suited for developing countries where less advanced mobile phones are available.
  • According to Strategy Analytics, between 2010 and 2016, nearly 1.5 billion SIM-based mobile phones will have been sold. They should support over 50 billion dollars in transactions over this period. Also, ABI Research explains that by 2016, 85% of the new POS terminals will be NFC-compatible.