Among the most bullish mobile telcos on NFC are France’s three major operators, which are joining with France’s major mass transit companies to create an interoperable ticketing application subscribers could download to NFC handsets and use in cities throughout France and beyond.

That project was announced today by the Pôle de Compétitivité Transactions Electroniques Sécurisées, a quasi-public organization that is coordinating the work.

The group will include representatives from mobile operators Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, along with Paris Métro operator RATP, France’s national railway SCNF, and private transit companies Keolis, Veolia Transport and Transdev. The application the group develops would be stored on the SIM card mobile operators issue to subscribers.

The group will be based in Caen, in Normandy, a research and development hub for Orange’s parent France Télécom and also the site of a project announced in November by the three major French mobile telcos, as well as major French banks BNP Paribas and Groupe Crédit Mutuel-CIC, to develop an interoperable payment application for NFC phones. Visa International and MasterCard Worldwide are involved in that project that is also being coordinated by Pôle de Compétitivité Transactions Electroniques Sécurisées.

Meanwhile, Germany-based smart card vendor Giesecke & Devrient announced this week it is working with mobile operator Vodafone on establishing specifications for storing applications on SIM cards. It was not clear whether G&D was working with Vodafone’s UK headquarters on the project or its German operation. It was also unclear how the work would relate to specifications being discussed by international standards makers.

Vodafone in Germany has been active in NFC trials. And G&D has a joint venture with handset maker Nokia to offer a service to securely download applications to SIMs in NFC phones and manage them once there. The specifications it comes up with as part of its work with Vodafone will no doubt support this service. (Extract From Card Technology Full Article Here 2007-04-12)