Operators To Define Requirements For NFC Handsets

This summer, the GSMA, the global trade body for the mobile industry, plans to release a preliminary set of minimum requirements for handsets containing Near Field Communications (NFC) chipsets. Developed by mobile operators supporting the GSMA’s Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative, the requirements will help handset manufacturers to develop NFC-enabled phones that are compatible with operators’ planned mobile NFC services and quickly realise economies of scale. Forty-four mobile operators from across the world support the Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative.

The requirements will build upon the standardisation work completed by ETSI1 , which has selected the Single Wire Protocol to provide the interface between the Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC)2, recommended by the GSMA as the Secure Element for NFC3 applications, and the embedded NFC chipset within the handset. The NFC chip can communicate with existing contactless readers to deliver a wide range of secure, interoperable and transparent services, such as credit and debit payments. Consumers will be able to use UICC-based NFC handsets to quickly, easily and securely pay for goods and services in shops, restaurants and train stations.

“We are looking for manufacturers to produce a wide range of UICC-based NFC handsets that will support the many contactless applications being developed by mobile operators and their partners around the world,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer of the GSMA. “We expect mobile operators to begin placing orders for these handsets this year as they prepare to rollout mobile NFC services, some of them in partnership with banks and credit card issuers.”

The GSMA will ask handset manufacturers to give their feedback on the preliminary requirements, which will cover the handset’s user-interface, operation in low battery power mode and other aspects of the contactless functionality, so that the requirements can be finalised by the autumn.

Mobile operator Softbank has just launched a trial of UICC-based NFC payment services in Japan bringing the total number of trials under the GSMA’s Pay-Buy-Mobile initiative to seven. AT&T, FarEasTone, KTF, Orange, SFR and Turkcell are also running trials and a further seven operators plan to begin trials in the near future.

1 The GSMA has contributed to the adoption of mobile NFC standards by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and is working with other industry groups, such as the NFC Forum and Global Platform, to secure agreement around a single global approach for enabling mobile payments.

2UICC refers to the Universal Integrated Circuit Card, sometimes known as a SIM card

3NFC refers to Near Field Communications – a contactless technology that enables data to be transmitted wirelessly over very short distances

Notes to Editors:

The GSMA also announced today (see separate press release) that it has reached an agreement with the European Payments Council to fully-define the role of the Trusted Services Manager, which will support banks and mobile operators in the distribution, configuration and activation of the bank’s payment application on the UICC within users’ NFC handsets.

About the GSMA:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

For further information contact:
David Pringle

GSM Association
Email: press@gsm.org