Oberthur Gets Telco Group TSM Contract but Loses Key French Bank
France-based Oberthur Technologies has won a key contract to serve as trusted service manager for France Telecom-Orange group, but lost a TSM contract with big French bank BNP Paribas, NFC Times has learned.
The Orange TSM contract is groupwide, but is focused for now on Poland and Spain, where the telco plans to launch NFC service this year. The contract will not involve Orange’s two largest markets of France and the United Kingdom this year, since these Orange operators already have TSM contracts with other providers, Gemalto and Orange Business Services, respectively.
As NFC Times reported last July, Orange issued a request for proposal for the groupwide TSM contract last summer, in which it said it was also targeting Romania as one of its “first potential” markets for NFC rollouts, along with Poland and Spain.
That is in addition to France and the UK, where Orange has already launched small NFC rollouts. TSM contracts in those markets are expected to expire around the end of this year.
Orange has confirmed it plans NFC launches by its branch operators in Poland and Spain this year, but hasn’t commented publicly on launch plans for Romania.
Neither Orange nor Oberthur has announced the TSM contract yet, but it was likely awarded in February, NFC Times has learned. The contract technically covers Orange operators worldwide, including in developing countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, though there are apparently no plans by Orange telcos to launch NFC outside of Europe in the near future.
The contract calls for Oberthur to serve as secure element TSM for the group, managing applications on the telco’s NFC SIM cards.
In that role, the vendor would work with other TSMs from service providers, such as banks, along with SIM suppliers and other vendors. Orange has referred to the TSM role as “NSM,” or NFC service manager.
To win the contract, Oberthur would have likely beaten out competing Europe-based TSMs Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient and probably Orange Business Services.
Though not yet announced, France-based Gemalto has won contracts with two of the other major European mobile operator groups, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone. The latter contract is believed to apply only to Vodafone operators in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Germany-based Giesecke & Devrient meanwhile was chosen as TSM by Spain-based Telefónica group.
Orange Business Services, or OBS, is a separate unit of France Telecom, which offers business-to-business communication services. It’s the only one of the TSMs likely to have competed for one or more of the telco group contracts that is not also be a manufacturer of NFC SIM cards.
Contracts for NFC SIM supply are separate from TSM contracts, though some observers say they play a role in the selection processes.
Oberthur in February announced it had won the contract to serve as TSM on the service provider side for Visa’s mobile provisioning service. Visa affiliated banks without their own TSMs could use the service to download and personalize their mobile payment cards supporting Visa payWave over the air to NFC phones.
The win was likely due to Oberthur’s strong network of bank card personalization bureaus in Europe and beyond, which could personalize NFC bank applications in or near the country of issuance, satisfying potential regulatory concerns.
Also in February, Oberthur announced a contract to serve as TSM on the service provider side for French bank Société Générale, for the bank’s planned roll out of NFC payment, expected to begin this year. Oberthur also has served as TSM for two other major French mobile operators, SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
BNP Paribas Drops Oberthur
But the news wasn’t all good for Oberthur’s TSM business. NFC Times has learned that another major French bank, BNP Paribas, dropped it in favor of Gemalto for its planned launch of NFC payment service.
The loss of the contract is key, since BNP Paribas is perhaps the most active French bank when it comes to planned NFC rollouts. The bank recently ran a national television commercial in France touting NFC mobile payment.
There were other recent moves in the French TSM market, as well, with another major French bank and NFC backer, Crédit Mutuel, awarding a contract to Orange Business Services. The contract is considered a loss for Gemalto, since Crédit Mutuel-CIC, the first bank to introduce NFC payment in France’s precommercial NFC launch in Nice, had been using Gemalto for TSM services.