Smart card solutions company Proton World has developed a package of services for embedding financial payment and security applications on the SIM cards used in mobile phones.
The new product, Proton Prisma Mobile Profile (MP), brings the features of Proton's multi-application chip technology to mobile phone Java-based SIMs, and is targeted at mobile telephony operators and their financial-sector and other m-commerce partners.
Proton says the Prisma MP package dramatically lowers the total cost of ownership of the SIM, increases its life-cycle and provides financial-sector-level security. This means that the SIM issuer can create and maintain secure domains on the SIM, enabling the "leasing" of secure domains to service provider partners, such as banks, financial institutions and retailers.
The first pilot test of Proton Prisma MP was launched in Belgium earlier this month by the Belgian Proton licensee Banksys, in collaboration with the mobile telephony operator Mobistar. In the first phase, customers using Mobistar’s prepaid Tempo package will be able to top-up their airtime account by using their handsets, equipped with Banksys’ secure payment application, to transfer value from their bank account to their Mobistar account. Future phases may involve payments in shops and at Web sites and access to banking services.
After an initial test period using members of the Mobistar staff, handsets equipped with the Proton Prisma MP SIM will be issued to selected customers in Q4 2001, and the Proton Prisma MP SIM will become standard issue to all Mobistar Tempo customers from Q1 2002 onwards.
Adrian di Fede, vice-president, products & innovation at Proton World, says: "Proton Prisma MP offers the secure payment and multiple-application solution that mobile telephony operators and their partners need. By bringing bank-level security to the SIM, introducing SIM-manufacturer-independence and a secure multiple-application platform, Proton World is offering both mobile telephony operators and financial institutions a new generation of secure solutions that will take m-commerce further along the path to maturity."
Proton Prisma MP suppresses the security discrepancies between financial-sector payment applications, m-commerce applications and typical SIM applications, says di Fede, enabling banks to load their applications directly onto the SIM.
A PKI toolkit and an authentication application engine are two of the standard features of Proton Prisma MP. They can be used to develop WIM (Wireless Identity Module) applications. Mobile telephony operators can also integrate their own secure applications, such as pre-paid airtime re-load and premium services payment.
Proton says the security domains concept offers a unique opportunity for mobile telephony operators and financial institutions to jointly-offer payment solutions - for example, e-purse for micro-payments or EMV credit/debit for higher-value payments - on the same mobile phone, with each partner retaining control of their respective applications.
Proton Prisma MP can be used in all of the emerging m-commerce hardware models: single SIM handsets, dual-SIM handsets and single-SIM dual-slot handsets