Sony Corp. and Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors said on Wednesday they will set up a joint venture to promote the use of mobile phones as a virtual wallet for paying for store purchases and train tickets.
The joint venture, called Moversa, will promote smart card applications in mobile phones by developing a chip that includes both companies' contactless chip card formats: Mifare and FeliCa, Sony and NXP said in a statement.
Mifare -- developed by NXP which was formerly Dutch Philips' (PHG.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) semiconductors unit -- and FeliCa developed by Sony are two of the most widely used formats in secure contactless chips that are embedded in access cards for buildings and public transport as well as mobile phones which double as electronic wallets.
The technology and associated services are already in widespread use in Asia, especially in Japan, and both technology and service providers are keen to promote their use globally.
NXP and Sony announced their plans to seek a joint venture last year. Dutch Philips Electronics sold 80 percent of NXP to private equity firms last year.
First samples of the secure chip will be available by mid-2008 for solutions embedded in mobile phones. Initial commercial deployments are targeted for the end of next year, Sony and NXP said.
Moversa will have a nominal capitalization of 100,000 euros ($146,600) and a total capitalization of $28 million. Sony and NXP will each hold 50 percent of the company, they said. It will be based in Vienna, Austria.