Giesecke & Devrient
German smart card supplier Giesecke & Devrient has been interested in contactless-mobile technology for years.
The vendor, the third largest smart card company worldwide, introduced a contactless SIM card five years ago with an RF antenna attached to it.
The “Dual-Interface (U)SIM” flopped, although similar products may make a comeback to fill the gap in NFC phone availability.
In any case, G&D soon was turning its attention to secure management of applications on NFC phones. It handled some of the first NFC trials involving the over-the-air downloads of contactless credit applications, including a trial organized by payment scheme MasterCard Worldwide with convenience store chain 7-Eleven in Dallas, Texas.
That was just after G&D and large handset maker Nokia announced, in mid-2006, an intention to form a joint venture to launch a trusted service management company. The company, later named Venyon, would offer over-the-air downloads and management of applications for both mobile operators and service providers, such as banks.
It seemed like good timing, despite the fact the concept of a trusted service manager, or TSM, for NFC applications hadn’t yet been established. But G&D, with a strong presence in the banking market, combined with the world No. 1 phone maker, Nokia, an early backer of NFC, believed that by 2008 they would be doing a roaring business as a TSM.
Now, nearly three years after the venture began operations, the rollouts still haven’t happened yet and revenue is scarce.
Nokia officially exited the venture in December 2009, allowing G&D to buy out its 43% stake in Venyon.
G&D said it still fully believes in the future of NFC, but said Venyon can also help it deliver all types of secure mobile phone services–from “SIM and secure microSD cards, through software to the secure administration” of applications.
G&D also plans to integrate Venyon’s expertise with that of Sweden-based SmartTrust, which it acquired in spring 2009. SmartTrust is a provider of over-the-air management of SIM applications for mobile operators. Venyon and SmartTrust will work together on a trial in Norway, downloading and managing a MasterCard PayPass application, issued by Norway’s largest bank, DnB NOR. The DnB NOR application will be downloaded to a G&D SIM, which will support the single-wire protocol connection to the NFC chip in the phone.
But besides SIMs for NFC phones, G&D is also working on an SD card with its own contactless interface for trials with BlackBerry handsets, NFC Times has learned.
And the vendor in November 2009 announced it was producing a contactless passive sticker certified by MasterCard to carry a PayPass application. In January 2011, G&D did away with the Venyon and SmartTrust names.
|Cards and Services division, in millions of euros|
Gemalto, Oberthur Technologies, Sagem Orga