Mobile network operator Orange has begun rolling out NFC-enabled SIMs to its 27 million customers across France in a move that will accelerate the uptake of contactless payments.
The telco is working with local vendor Gemalto on the deployment of UpTeq NFC SIMs, which it says offer the same level of security as chip-based payment cards.
Orange says that by being the first in Europe to embark on a national roll-out, it is building an NFC infrastructure that will make it easy for service providers such as banks, transport operators and retailers, to come onboard and deploy mobile contactless services.
Providers can dynamically manage their own security domain in the card and load, personalise and update its related NFC applications remotely over time. They will be offered a secure space on the SIM to manage and update their end customers' personal data. Orange subscribers will then be able to download, activate and use these NFC offerings on their phone.
Orange has been aggressively pushing NFC adoption across Europe for the last two years, and scored a major coup last week with the revelation that it will be the launch partner for the new Microsoft SIM-based NFC mobile wallet, set for release in France in the Autumn.