Technology companies and mobile operators joined forces on Monday to plan a global standard for electronic wallets in mobile phones. Sony Corp. from Japan and Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors said they will create a joint venture, to be established by the middle of next year, that will plan, develop, produce and market a secure chip that will include both companies’ contactless chip card formats: Mifare and FeliCa.
Mifare — developed by NXP which was formerly known as Philips Semiconductors — and Felica developed by Sony are two of the most widely used formats in secure contactless chips that are embedded in access cards for buildings and public transport as well as mobile phones which double as electronic wallets. Other contactless card operating systems and applications will also be supported by the joint venture. Mifare and FeliCa already share the same short-range wireless infrastructure technology.
The move by Sony and Philips got support from the GSM association, which bands together the world’s major mobile operators. It said 14 operators including China Mobile, Vodafone, Cingular — owned by AT&T Inc and BellSouth Corp — and Telefonica would support one common NFC format on the mobile phones they distribute for their networks.
Mifare claims to be the most widely installed contactless smart card technology in the world with about 1.2 billion smart card chips and more than seven million reader modules sold. Current shipments of FeliCa chips stand at 170 million units and of these 30 million are mobile FeliCa chips for use in mobile phones in Japan. More via