Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, today announces a partnership with Taiwan's Far EasTone Telecommunications Ltd. to start Asia's first mobile contactless SIM-based NFC (Near Field Communications) trial.
This trial, starting in November and rolled out in phases, is part of the GSM Association's 'Pay-Buy Mobile' initiative which seeks to define a common global approach to using NFC technology to link mobile devices with payment and contactless systems. Taiwan's fast-paced adoption of contactless payment services and appetite for new technologies makes it the perfect place to start the trial.
Far EasTone subscribers participating in the trial will be able to make mobile contactless purchases at any Far EasTone trial partner merchant with the same ease and convenience as if using an ordinary contactless payment card. Additionally, a fun new way to shop is to interact with "smart posters". Taiwan's hypermarket chain, Far Eastern Geant for instance, will hang posters embedded with NFC tags at their stores. Shoppers walk by, wave their NFC mobile across the poster and walk away with a coupon downloaded to the SIM for use at the checkout or for later purchases. This type of shopping gesture is just one of the exciting new ways to connect the mobile lifestyle with the convenience of contactless. Moreover, subscribers can view and interact with services provisioned using the mobile's own web browser. In this way, subscribers see the services on the SIM presented as a web page.
"This trial marks a milestone in mobile contactless history and is also a key advancement in services for Taiwan", said Tan Teck Lee, president of Gemalto Asia. "We are proud to be part of this exciting development with Far EasTone as it sets the stage for the growing popularity of mobile contactless and service provisioning applications".
Jan Nilsson, president of Far EasTone commented, "This launch will mark an advancement of Taiwan's mobile market where we combine convenience with security. For us, the mobile has become a hub for advanced subscriber services and is the platform of choice to provide subscribers with a new lifestyle. Taiwan is the perfect place to start".
Consecutive trial phases, leading to commercial rollout in 2008, will gradually introduce a broader variety of different merchants, partners and services including Taiwan's largest convenience store chain 7-Eleven, department store Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, vending machines from HeySong and rail transport operated by Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation.
The SIM is one of the natural choices available to host this type of service, as it is a portable and secure platform for payment applications. Far EasTone is able to maintain a direct link with subscribers by using it as a hub for advanced subscriber services. For subscribers, the portability prevents service disruption when changing phones.
Interestingly, as more and more services are progressively rolled out, it will be increasingly important to manage multiple services from multiple service providers in a secure and reliable way. Gemalto is uniquely positioned in supporting Far EasTone to leverage on expertise with remote service provisioning and service management in a trusted and secure environment.