A host of mobile network operators around the world have backed a proposal to integrate near-field communications technology inside SIM cards.
Forty-five operators from around the world said they will implement near-field communications (NFC) technology embedded into SIM cards in the future, according to an announcement from the GSM Association (GSMA) on Wednesday.
"One of the primary factors that will accelerate the proliferation of mobile NFC is the standardisation of the technology, which allows seamless interoperability between NFC devices and enables users to benefit from services around the world, regardless of mobile operator, network or device type," the GSMA said.
In order to encourage use of the technology — which can be used for things like micro payments, access to secure buildings, connecting to NFC-enabled accessories and transferring contacts or media files — the GSMA has published handset and SIM requirements that define common handset APIs to support SIM-based NFC services.
Among the list of operators that have pledged support for SIM-embedded NFC are China Mobile and China Unicom — which have nearly 800 million subscribers between them, according to the GSMA — AT&T, Deutsche Telekom Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, Verizon and Orange.
Some handsets, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Bold 9930, already make use of NFC technology for performing some tasks. RIM said it will soon be launching its BlackBerry Tag feature which uses NFC to share content between handsets.
The Symbian Belle and Android operating systems also support NFC technology for a range of functions. The Belle OS is currently used on the Nokia 600, 700 and 701 — all of which were introduced in August. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform does not yet support NFC.