Infineon leads globally in security chips for NFC

January 17, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Infineon Technologies is the world’s leading supplier of security microcontrollers for NFC (Near Field Communication) applications, according to a recent IMS Research study (“The World Market for NFC – 2012 Edition”, January 2012) that shows Infineon holds a 51.5 percent share in the NFC security microcontroller market. Market share of other suppliers: NXP 31.8%, Samsung 8.6%, STMicroelectronics 5.6%.

As a major supplier, Infineon has played a key part in shaping NFC market development and brings the security functions for contactless NFC applications to the mobile device in three ways: via a NFC security microcontroller for the SIM card, via the embedded Secure Element forming part of the mobile phone electronics, and via a Secure Element which can be implemented in a microSD card, for example.

This makes Infineon the only semiconductor manufacturer to provide such flexibility in implementing NFC functionality. The company offers NFC solutions that fulfill the strictest requirements for security microcontrollers, including the Common Criteria EAL 5+ “high” international standard and the EMVCo (Europay International, Mastercard, Visa) approval. They’re suitable for all payment applications enabled by mobile devices over NFC.

Infineon’s NFC security microcontrollers are already used in most NFC-enabled smart phones. For some NFC security microcontrollers, the company uses its multi-award winning “Integrity Guard” security technology developed specifically for applications such as mobile payment requiring a very high level of protection. This security technology means that the data is stored in encrypted form and remains encrypted for processing along the entire data path – CPUs, memories, caches and buses.

According to IMS Research data, the number of NFC-enabled mobile phones shipped in 2011 was 35 million globally and this figure is set to grow to 80 million by the end of 2012. Showcase events, such as the Summer Olympic Games 2012 in London, will help to promote NFC technology and to demonstrate its benefits for mobile payment or access control, for example. By 2016, mobile payment should become the most popular NFC application by far.

IMS Research puts the number of Secure Elements shipped in 2011 for NFC-enabled mobile phones at 45.8 million. Embedded Secure Elements accounted for the lion’s share at 26.6 million units, while SIM cards and other solutions such as microSD cards accounted for 19 million units and 0.2 million units, respectively.