MONTE CARLO, Monaco Mobile phone maker Nokia claimed it has changed the prospects for Near Field Communications (NFC) in the mobile sector with the surprise announcement that it will start shipping in the third quarter, in selected markets, its first SIM-based handset – the 6216 Classic.
In his keynote at the 3rd annual Global NFC Developers Summit, organized by WIMA, being held here, Jeremy Belostock, head of near field communications at Nokia, announced to a cheering audience that "this will be the last NFC device to be made by Nokia."
After the talk, he told EE Times Europe it is now "up to the SIM community and operators to push the technology even faster and further."
The fully integrated 6216 Classic will allow operators to build NFC services on to the SIM card.
"The Nokia 6216 classic will be amongst the first commercial devices in the market complying with operator requirements using the SIM card in connection to secure transactions with NFC," said Belostock.
"Having the applications on the SIM consumers can bring their secure applications to their next Nokia NFC enabled phone," he added.
Alex Sinclair, the Chief Technology Officer of the GSM Association, welcomed Nokia's move, suggesting the SIM-based NFC handset is "a great step forward for payment and ticketing services. We believe this will drive more rapid deployment of the technology and expect this to signal launch of NFC services in the market by operators."
The GSMA has been pushing hard for phone makers to integrate the NFC capability into the SIM card of the handset so that operators can feel more assured about interoperability and a business case for the technology.
Asked whether Nokia will now make NFC a default feature in its handsets, Belostock said:”We had several other devices planned in the pipeline in which we planned to incorporate NFC chips and technology, but saw limited demand for NFC-enabled phones. We also worked hard with SIM card makers and chip manufacturers, and we feel this is the best way to get this sector moving. We now anticipate a challenge and a move from our major competitors in this area."
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