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VeriSign Moves to Capture Mobile Market

VeriSign Inc. made a heavy play for the wireless space Wednesday at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France. The infrastructure services provider unveiled its new wireless payment services platform and also announced deals to provide digital certificate technology for phones made by both Ericsson and NTT DoCoMo Inc.

The new wireless payment services include a managed payment gateway for WAP servers, network-based profile management and wireless point-of-sale solutions.

"Advances in mobile commerce provide merchants and enterprises with the ability to deliver high-value services to their customers in an 'anytime, anywhere' manner," said Stratton Sclavos, president and chief executive officer of VeriSign. "Now, the 15,000 merchants, buyers and suppliers currently using our 'wired' Internet payment services -- along with new customers looking to payment-enable their mobile sales forces -- will be able to leverage our utility-like infrastructure to process transactions seamlessly over mobile networks."

VeriSign said the platform is capable of connecting to every major payment network, giving it the ability to process a variety of payment types, from credit, debit and purchase cards to Internet checks and automated clearing house (ACH) transactions.

The managed wireless payments gateway is a wireless version of VeriSign's Payflow Pro software which allows payments to be processed from a WAP server in the same manner as from a Web server.

The services' network-based profile management allows VeriSign to store end-users' account and payment details, saving them from having to re-enter personal information onto mobile keypads for each purchase. The solution can be tied to existing account management solutions.

The wireless point of sale (WPOS) services turn handsets carried by mobile sales forces and delivery workers into virtual payment terminals, allowing service-oriented companies to equip their employees to accept payment when they deliver a service.

VeriSign said its Wireless Payflow Pro software development kit will be available in the second quarter and will be priced based on monthly transaction volumes. The WPOS solutions will also be available in the second quarter on a subscription basis for enterprises. Pilots of the profile management solutions will also begin that quarter.

As for the new alliances, VeriSign will embed its digital certificate technology into Ericsson's WAP-enabled mobile phones as well as NTT DoCoMo's Java-ready 503i series phones.

Under the terms of its deal with Ericsson, VeriSign will embed a mobile certificate authority (CA) into Ericsson's phones, enabling the devices to check the validity of a wireless server certificate installed on a WAP server and chain to VeriSign's globally interoperable digital certificate hierarchy.. VeriSign's CA has been integrated into Ericsson's R380 phone and the R520 phone available this quarter.

Under VeriSign's deal with NTT DoCoMo, the company's root key will be installed onto NTT DoCoMo's phones.The root keys chain to VeriSign's digital certificate hierarchy.