Ericsson is to integrate VeriSign digital certificate technology into its next generation of WAP-based mobile phones.
The agreement paves the way for secure authentication and encryption services between mobile handsets and the Internet, say the companies. Ericsson handsets equipped with VeriSign technology will enable users to securely access sensitive commercial applications such as mobile banking, brokerage, and retailing.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will embed a VeriSign mobile certificate authority (CA) into its WAP-ready R380 mobile phone and the R520 mobile phone to be available Q1 of this year. The integration will facilitate a secure 128-bit encrypted link between the phone and a WAP server secured by a VeriSign wireless server digital certificate. The mobile CA enables the handset to check the validity of a wireless server certificate installed on a WAP server and chains to VeriSign's digital certificate hierarchy, which currently includes over 275,000 active Web sites.
Industry estimates indicate that the number of wireless Internet clients will exceed the number of wired PC/Internet clients by 2004. According to Durlacher, the European mobile commerce market is on track to hit $23.6 billion by 2003.