Nokia joint venture to secure near-field communication

Nokia Corp. has formed a joint venture with a smart card manufacturer to secure electronic payments made using a short-range wireless technology called near-field communication (NFC) useful in financial transactions such as credit card purchasing or public transportation ticketing.

The new company, formed with Germany's Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, will create and operate a service platform that can be used by banks or mobile phone network operators to securely manage transactions made using cell phones equipped with NFC technology. Users simply wave an NFC-equipped device in front of a reader to make a payment.

Giesecke & Devrient will own 57 percent of the joint venture and Nokia will own the rest.

The service they create will be open to all vendors that build NFC-enabled devices. By opening the service up to all players in the NFC market, Nokia and Giesecke & Devrient hope to prevent fragmentation of the NFC market.

The companies also hope their platform can help spur the closer integration of mobile phones with NFC. For example, users of the combined devices could use their phones to view transactions that were made on a credit card tied to the NFC on the phone.

Two weeks ago, credit card company JCB International Co. Ltd. and Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV said they'll launch a trial service in Amsterdam that will let participants make small payments on credit cards using Nokia phones equipped with NFC.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. has also conducted trials of the technology.

NFC was developed by Philips and Sony Corp. and is supported by companies including Nokia, Microsoft Corp., MasterCard International Inc., Visa International Inc, NEC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Texas Instruments Inc.

Last week, Nokia announced the creation of a joint venture with German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG. The two companies plan to pool their telecommunications network infrastructure design and manufacturing activities in a new company, Nokia Siemens Networks.

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