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Secure Transactions News

G&D and Vodafone launch a NFC SIM card specification

Thursday 12 April 2007

For years, the security of SIM cards has been demonstrated, so cards are a natural choice for securely storing information, such as credit card functions or railroad tickets in mobile phones. Vodafone and G&D will continue developing the specification before making it available to a wider audience in the middle of the year.

The development of this SIM containing a NFC Secure Element is part of the NFC ecosystem.

Several NFC projects have been set up. For instance, in Germany, Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn have just announced Touch&Travel, a project for a new electronic ticketing system on the basis of NFC together with G&D and other partners (cf. Smart Insights #07-12).

NFC is currently undergoing an industry wide standardization effort to ensure interoperability between all system components. With this initiative, Vodafone and G&D aim at establishing SIM cards as a standard, trusted mobile NFC application host. SIM cards can be flexibly and securely managed via the mobile network, to the extent where a credit card payment function can be downloaded over-the-air into a SIM card. In a partnership with Nokia, G&D created Venyon (cf. SI #07-02) that functions as an independent trusted service provider that can be used by mobile phone operators and suppliers of mobile NFC services to manage remotely applications and customer data. Specifications for secure SIM management will be defined as part of the Vodafone and G&D initiative.

Not everyone in the industry agrees with the position taken by G&D and Vodafone. The debate is still open as to which is the best location for the Secure Element: in the handset (in the handset microprocessor or directly linked to it), in the SIM, or as a removable item, that stands besides the SIM (cf. SI #07-08).