RIM wars with cellcos over m-payment data

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
21 Mar 2011
As Wall Street looks for double-digit growth when RIM reports its fourth quarter results on Thursday, the company has reportedly picked one of the first big fights in the boom area of mobile payments.
According to the Wall Street Journal, RIM is “locking horns” with operators over control of data as smartphones take on electronic wallet functions.
The carriers and RIM have different viewpoints on where the user's payment credentials - the data held in the magnetic strip of a credit card - should be stored on a handset. The carriers believe this data should be encrypted and stored in the SIM card, which they control, while RIM says it should be in a secure area of the phone.
The dispute highlights the fight among different players in the m-commerce chain to take pole position, and own the main customer relationship.
If the data is stored in the SIM card, it can be transferred between devices and the customer is related mainly to the operator, while in RIM's vision the user is tied to the gadget itself.
WSJ says that large cellcos - the biggest distribution channel for handsets in western markets - are already telling RIM and other vendors that they will only sell phones with credentials in the SIM card.
However, some operators are saying privately that they expect vendors with closed platforms, notably Apple and RIM, to try to build the m-payments security and identity features into the handset.


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