France Telecom’s Orange has announced a large-scale commercial deployment of NFC-enabled SIM cards and handsets to facilitate the development of mobile contactless services in Europe.
The new SIM cards will be introduced to Orange subscribers in the second half of 2011, and the operator says it will try to equip at least 500,000 of its customers in France with NFC compatible handsets by the end of 2011.
Orange also says it is working with other operators, banks, retailers, transport and service providers to create an ecosystem which will stimulate the development of NFC services, including contactless mobile payment, transport ticket validation and event ticketing.
“Orange is the first European operator to make such a grand commitment to the development of mobile contactless services,” the company said in a release. “By introducing the necessary technology on such a wide scale, Orange will enable a maximum number of its customers to benefit quickly and easily as new services are deployed in each country.”