NXP Semiconductors is looking at licensing its Mifare contactless chip card technology to other semiconductor companies for use in SIM cards and NFC applications such as ticketing, payment and access management. “We are preparing a technology licensing program. This will take some time to evolve as it involves both the Mifare hardware and operating system and the crucial over the air management protocols and interfaces with Mifare4Mobile,” Heikki Huomo, vice president and general manager for the NFC business at NXP, told EE times Europe.
“We are making a very clear statement that NXP wants an open industry specification in this area. We are talking to several other chip manufacturers and have indicated that we would not be seeking ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in fees and the arrangement would also have a numbers based elements so as not to disadvantage smaller players.”
It is important to note that Huomo stressed the initiative will not affect the work NXP is doing with Sony in the Moversa joint venture to create a secure chip for contactless smart card applications in mobile phones.
At the recent European NFC Developers Summit in Monaco, Huomo stated that besides this IP licensing initiative, NXP is developing Mifare Plus, an addition to the company’s existing platforms for mobile integration that it has been offering for nearly a decade. The latest version of Mifare will be targeted at both automatic fare collection and access management applications that require relatively high security elements. There will be four offerings (Ultra Lite, Classic, DESfire and SMX) “that are continually shifting as regards secure element authentication for different uses.”
The Classic, Plus and DesFire versions will also be offered as embedded secure elements , but this will not happen for about 18-24 months. “We need to develop these as they mean modifications at chip level, changes to the operating system and Common Criteria certification.”