I love the convenience of having a MiFi to quickly create a Wi-Fi hotspot practically anywhere I choose. I can fire it up in the car, so passengers can check their email or surf the web directly from their laptop or netbook. I can use it to connect and surf even when my other carrier’s smartphone drops the signal. In some cases, you don’t even need to use a MiFi at all — if you have a Palm Pre Plus, Pixi Plus, or Windows Mobile phone to create your own wireless hotspot. The next step, though, looks like it will be even better. How about being able to use your phone’s SIM card itself as the Wi-Fi hotspot?
It’s happening now. Sagem Orga and Telefonica have teamed up to create the “SIMFi,” the world’s first SIM card with integrated Wi-Fi. They’ll be showing it off next week in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2010. Just imagine being able to pop the SIMFi into any (GSM) phone you like and have the convenience of having wireless wherever you go. Forget needing to connect to tether or even bother with a separate gadget; it will be right in the SIM that’s in your phone!
Full press release on the “SIMFi” after the jump.
[image courtesy of Engadget]
World premier: Sagem Orga and Telefonica turn the SIM card into a Wi-Fi hotspot
Barcelona, Mobile World Congress 2010
Smart card expert Sagem Orga (Safran group) and Telefonica, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies,
are enhancing mobile broadband services by offering “SIMFi,” the first SIM card with integrated Wi-Fi. Using the SIM as a hotspot is expected
to have the potential of becoming the next killer application.
Millions of subscribers are using netbooks and notebooks to surf the Internet while on the move, and this has become a strategic market for mobile operators. To enable Internet access, all of these mobility devices use the USIM card to authenticate the user on High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks, but there are some drawbacks that are slowing down market penetration. These include complex 3G modem and driver set-ups the user must perform, the use of accessories and cables such as USB modems, PCMCIA modems, handsets and certain software, and the
complexity of service use.
By turning the SIM card into a Wi-Fi hotspot, Sagem Orga and Telefonica have developed a solution without all these hurdles. An embedded WLAN modem in the SIM card, driven by the SIM toolkit applets running in the SIM, will enable Telefonica to broadcast High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) Internet access through Wi-Fi to notebooks and netbooks. The new generation USIM card “SIMFi” can be inserted in any type of classic handset to act as a universal and interoperable HSPA/Wi-Fi router for any device.
“We strongly believe that SIMFi, with its unprecedented functionality for wireless access, will significantly improve the user experience,” explained Remy Cricco, Technology Innovation Manager at Sagem Orga. “If customers can connect their notebooks to the Web anytime and anywhere by simply using what they have with them most of the time and what is the most trusted secure device – the SIM card – adoption can be expected to be enormous.”
Sagem Orga is a global leader in the smart card industry. Its portfolio includes hardware, software, consulting and services, all focused on smart cards for the telecommunications, health,
identification and banking sectors. As a subsidiary of Sagem Sécurité (Safran group), the world’s No. 1 in identification, Sagem Orga offers comprehensive
integrated solutions designed to secure the digital and mobile community. The company has a workforce of over 2,100 people around the world and production
facilities incorporating the latest technology in Germany, Brazil, Russia, Mexico and India.