France Telecom Starts Wireless E-Commerce Trial

France Telecom launched a trial
version of “Iti Achat,” a secure mobile e-commerce service that enables
customers of its Itineris GSM service to make purchases from their mobile
phones or via the Internet.

Transaction security is guaranteed thanks to a special smart bank card reader
integrated in the handset, the company said. The technical application
complies with the specifications defined by Groupement Cartes Bancaires CB,
an interbank consortium responsible for “CB” bank cards in France.

The solution uses a Motorola StarTAC-D handset, the SIMphonIC SIM Toolkit
solution from De La Rue Card Systems and a Carte Bancaires CB smart bank card
(equipped with a microprocessor).

The project’s first two partner banks — Credit Commercial de France and
Credit Mutuel — are joined by five vendors: Alapage.com (CDs, books, videos, concert
and theater tickets, etc.), Aquarelle (flowers for all occasions), ChateauOnline (wines
from around the world), Marcopoly (household
appliances, TVs, stereo equipment, etc.) and Web Shopping France (scale
model boats).

Itineris customers contact the merchant (by phone, Minitel or Internet) and
place an order. The merchant sends back a GSM short message with the price
that is displayed on the screen of the Motorola StarTAC-D handset. The
customer then inserts the CB bank card into the handset and enters the
password. Transaction data is transmitted to one of the two partner banks,
Credit Commercial de France or Credit Mutuel.

The service should be ready for full-scale commercial launch in about six
months, following a second trial phase to begin on Sept. 20, France Telecom
said.

Several more banking partners will join the program for the second trial
(including BNP, Caisse d’Epargne, Credit Lyonnais and Societe Generale),
along with 20 more merchants.

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