Phones become Net connections
(Electronics Times; 09/14/98)
Schlumberger's latest subscriber identity module (SIM) card means it could
soon be possible to convert the humble GSM phone into a slavering Internet
terminal complete with electronic money, e-mail, e-commerce and database access
by changing the SIM card inside.
With the new system, loyalty points, credit details and even electronic
money can be downloaded to the phone over the air, in a shop or even over the
Web from the home or office.
More importantly for the cellular phone operators, it gives a mid-life kick
to GSM and should help to prevent the `churn' of people moving from one network
to another in search of the best deals.
The key to the system developed by Schlumberger is the SIM card which is
based on the standard Java language running on a smartcard and supplied with a
Java applets from different suppliers - not just the network operator - can
be downloaded to the card through the GSM Short Message Service (SMS) or
through a point-of-sale terminal in a shop, using the graphical display on the
phone to access the Internet, rather than using the voice interface. The card
ties up with a fault tolerant server called Artemis-OTA developed by
Schlumberger for the remote SMS download, or through Artemis-POS for the point-
The use of the Artemis-Web server means that it will even be possible to
download applets for the current design of phone over the Internet to customise
mobile services directly from a home or office PC.
The amount of customisation that the user is able to do is restricted to
reduce the security problems that occur when downloading `unknown' applets. The
Schlumberger system includes encryption and a point-to-point identification
layer that means applets can be delivered only to specific destinations.
The commercial release of the technology this week follows more than six
months of beta trials with mobile operators, terminal manufacturers and service
providers, including Nokia, Sonera, Swisscom and Telecom Italia Mobile.