Gemalto Announces Long-Held Isis TSM Deal
France-based Gemalto has announced its long-held agreement to serve as the trusted service manager for the U.S.-based Isis joint venture, which plans to launch its NFC platform next year.
Gemalto announced the deal today to provide the TSM services, which will include managing applications on SIM cards and other secure elements the Isis telcos–Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA–will use when they launch NFC, planned for mid-2012.
It’s unclear why Gemalto announced the deal today, since Isis chose Gemalto more than a year ago, as NFC Times reported, and Gemalto CEO Olivier Piou confirmed the Isis contract nearly two months ago in a conference call with financial analysts.
Gemalto could be seeking to gain momentum as more and more telcos and service providers, such as banks, go out for tenders for TSM services as they gear up for possible launches of NFC services in 2012 and expected wider rollouts in 2013.
The telcos and service providers are hiring TSMs either to manage the applications on the secure elements they issue or to provision and personalize their payment and other applications, or both. TSMs must be able to securely manage the applications, especially payment, over the air.
Isis plans to launch NFC in two mid-tier U.S. cities, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, by June of 2012 with a nationwide rollout planned for 2013. The plans call for consumers with NFC phones supporting Isis wallets to be able to tap to pay for retail purchases, redeem coupons and loyalty points, spend transit tickets and enter buildings.
Gemalto also won a TSM contract for the Deutsche Telekom group in Europe, NFC Times has learned, but has yet to announce the deal. The vendor has disclosed TSM contracts with UK issuer Barclaycard for its NFC mobile payment launch with Orange UK earlier this year. It also provides TSM services to a few French banks for precommercial NFC projects. And a Gemalto-led consortium won a contract from the Singaporean government’s Infocomm Development Authority to serve as TSM for coordinated rollouts expected to begin next year.
Gemalto’s Germany-based competitor Giesecke & Devrient announced its own TSM contract about two weeks ago, offering TSM services in Europe for a major operator group, Spain-based Telefónica.
Contracts for other TSMs are expected to be announced in coming weeks and months.
The Isis and Telefónica contracts will include over-the-air provisioning of applications, say the vendors, and today’s Gemalto announcement included a statement from Isis chief marketing officer, Ryan Hughes, that the joint venture chose Gemalto for its “long-standing relationships with financial institutions and mobile operators, which includes experience in securely provisioning services over the air and issuing sensitive financial information to the consumer.”
Gemalto is mainly a manufacturer of SIMs, EMV payment cards and other smart cards. It also securely personalizes many of the banking cards it produces with account and customer data before shipping them. Separately, it offers services to a number of mobile operators to manage GSM and other applications on SIM cards over the air. These conventional SIM applications do not require as much security as payment applications on NFC-enabled SIMs will need.
As TSM for Isis, Gemalto would be dealing with TSMs hired by banks or other service providers, although Gemalto potentially could also represent some service providers wanting to put their applications onto the Isis secure elements.