How many Java Card’s in a mobile phone?

There is a big ongoing debate about the future of the SIM, as illustrated by e-Smart’s debate about “SIM, no SIM , super SIM?”. I don’t have the answer, and as a Java Card expert, I am not sure to really care. It seems that most people agree that it is nice to have at least a secure element on the phone.

There is a recent pilot that puts Moneo (the French electronic purse) on mobile phones, allowing a few students to pay their meals with their phones. Olivier Méric, director of BMS, the company that issues Moneo, has provided the following quote (my translation):

Students will received a mobile phone equipped with the Moneo function. A secure element is embedded without being integrated in the SIM card.

The pilot is then labeled as “multi-operator“, because the students don’t have to change mobile operator. On the other hand, the pilot is “single-bank”, and also “mono-terminal” (a Nokia 6131 NFC). It’s funny that the operators are not quoted on this one.

The good news is that people are pushing the use of two Java cards on a single phone (the Nokia 6131 NFC integrates a Java Card chip). The bad news is of course that, although this approach is multi-operator, the fact that it is single-bank and mono-terminal does not sound that good. I am a customer at several banks, I like to choose my phones, and I don’t think that I am that unusual.

This news item really reminded me of the conclusions of last spring’s SIM conferences: “NFC is the future, … if we find a business model”. Until then, we technical people will have to keep working, keep saying that the technical solutions are available, and hope that the business guys will find a deal. Only then will the real fun (i.e., the real deployments) begin. With 1, 2, or more Java Card platforms on every phone.

3 Comments

  • lexdabear wrote:

    So why don’t we go towards the pre-loaded mechanism? Like the ticketing in Japan or the Geldkarte in Germany? You have some terminals where you pay cash or via your bank card to load load your e-purse which resided on the secure element in your mobile phone.

  • I don’t know about Geldkarte on mobile phones, but in Japan, the situation is very different. The main difference is here that the operator plays a central role. First, an operator like DoCoMo controls the handsets that they distribute; then, they also control the electronic purse that is put into their phone. In the end, payment simply is another mobile service.

    In France, the model is different, since the idea is to associate an operator with a bank. I am not saying that the model is better (at least, it is not as practical as the single-operator approach), but I am simply saying that it is different, and that we have to consider these differences.

  • Hi Guys,

    Does anyone know of a Java Card Expert coming available for new contracts in Europe?
    Please contact me john.ryan@capitolinternational.com if you can help.
    Much appreciated, John
    P.S. I think the SIM is safe for a long time to come….

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