Near Field Communications, or NFC for short, is a topic we’ve been writing about since the birth of this publication. The dream goes something like this: When you leave your home all you’ll need to take with you is a mobile phone. Said phone will open doors, pay for things at the store, let you use use public transportation, and even replace your passport. The technology is solid, the problem has always been the politics. Who owns you, the customer? Is it the company that sells you your phone? The company that provides you with cellular service? You bank? Visa? MasterCard? They all want a piece of the action, and thus the constant bickering has set things back quite a few number of years.
Orange France, tired of waiting, has just announced that they’re going to issue NFC SIM cards for new customers effectively immediately. If you’re already a customer, all you have to do is go to an Orange store or call them up and then they’ll have no problems sorting you out. This news is important because Orange has effectively enabled 27 million people to be on the cutting edge should they choose to be.
How will this all work? Does the SIM card have NFC? No, the SIM doesn’t have an NFC antenna inside. Instead, people will have to buy a new phone that is SWP (single wire protocol) compatible. What this means is that your phone’s NFC chip will talk directly to the SIM card. It hasn’t exactly been detailed how payments and all that jazz will work, but Orange wants to make it clear that this is no longer a chicken and egg problem.
The SIM cards needed to make all this stuff work are now out there, it won’t be too long for the phones to come, now all we need is for our local stores, banks, and cities to get onboard.