Orange intends to introduce SIM cards that’ll enable contactless payments – and it’s also aiming to make sure its smartphones are compatible with contactless payment systems.
The new SIM cards will be introduced for post-paid deals in most of Orange’s European operations from the second half of 2011. Unlike conventional SIMs, NFC (Near Field Communication) technology will be added to the chipset that runs the SIM card. In addition, Orange is working with manufacturers to ensure that over half of the new smartphone models it buys will work with the SIM card to support contactless services.
Orange plans to equip at least 500,000 of its customers in France with compatible handsets by the end of next year.
Stephane Richard, CEO of France Telecom–Orange, said “The smartphone revolution has changed the way people organize their daily lives. People today are constantly connected and constantly on the move. We are seizing the opportunity this creates to make everyday transactions simple. Our commitment to contactless services will benefit customers, giving them a seamless, convenient and secure way to validate transport or make payments. To make it a reality for our customers, Orange is working with other operators, banks, retailers, transport and service providers to create an eco-system which will stimulate the development of services adapted to everyone’s needs.”
Orange is already participating in the Cityzi commercial pilot scheme, which is bringing NFC mobile payments to the French city of Nice. The Cityzi service will be launched commercially across France in 2011.