Gemalto and Far EasTone Telecommunications are tag-teaming a new initiative to bring SIM card-based near-field communication services to Taiwan, starting with a trial phase and eventually leading to a full roll-out in ’08. NFC allows for contactless transactions, so you just wave your phone in front of a sensor, which debits your account and sets you up with whatever service you were looking for. Here’s an example.
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. Moreover, subscribers can view and interact with services provisioned using the mobile’s own web browser.
Embedding this function in SIM cards allows users to swap devices without any disruption in service, and lets mobile operators introduce new services through it, such as topping up your minutes at a terminal. NFC is becoming a growing market, and getting the technology inside a SIM card could significantly increase adoption.