Orange sets out its ambitions for mobile contactless services
17 DEC 2010 - Orange sets out its ambitions for mobile contactless services: large-scale commercial deployment of new generation SIM cards and handsets in Europe
Orange announced today it will deploy a new generation of SIM cards and handsets to facilitate the development of mobile contactless services. These services streamline transactions, enabling users to validate transport tickets, pay for concerts or make purchases in local shops simply by swiping their phone over an electronic reader. Coupled with mobile applications, mobile contactless services can also give users information such as transport timetables, opening hours or directions.
Announced at a meeting with mobile handset manufacturers held in Paris on December 15, the new SIM cards will be introduced for post-paid offers in most of the Group’s European operations from the second half of 2011. The Group is also working with manufacturers to ensure that over half of new smartphone models it buys will be compatible with contactless services when combined with the new, secure SIM card. Orange has also announced its ambition to equip at least 500,000 of its customers in France with compatible handsets by the end of 2011.
Orange is the first European operator to make such a clear commitment to the development of mobile contactless services. These are expected to radically change the telecommunications industry in the years to come. By introducing the necessary technology on such a wide scale, Orange will enable a maximum number of its customers to benefit quickly and easily as new services are deployed in each country.
“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,” said Stephane Richard, CEO of France Telecom–Orange. “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.”
Cityzi: from project to mass-market commercial offer
This announcement follows the Cityzi commercial pilot running since May 2010 in Nice, France. This has already attracted close to 3,000 customers, and is conducted in partnership with the AFSCM (Association Française du Sans Contact Mobile), which brings together Orange, SFR, Bouygues and NRJ Mobile. Other partners in the Cityzi project include various international standard bodies, governmental authorities, working groups and service providers.
The Cityzi service will be launched commercially across France in 2011, making it one of the world’s first mass-market commercial contactless services. The “Player One Cityzi” handset will be sold across France from January, and further handset models will follow from the spring. Orange aims to equip at least 500,000 of its French customers with compatible devices by the end of 2011.
A secure environment, a common platform
Contactless services are made possible by introducing NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to the chip-set that runs the SIM card. In much the same way as the original GSM standard, this technology enables a customer’s confidential data to be stored in a fully secure environment but which is able to establish a radio connection with another object a short distance away, such as an electronic ticket reader. In addition, if developed within the appropriate eco-system, the system has the added benefit of being fully compatible with other network operators and service providers, including banks, retailers or public transport services, allowing for the development of a whole new economic landscape.
According to Juniper Research, the mobile payment market is expected to represent up to billion for the European market as a whole by 2014 and is set to generate a continuous revenue stream for operators once a critical mass of customers are equipped with compatible handsets.