Infineon claims market leadership in security chips for NFC

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - January 18, 2012

Infineon's market share is 51.5 % while that of NXP is 31.8%, Samsung's is 8.6% and STMicroelectronics being 5.6%.

Infineon Technologies has said it is the world’s leading supplier of security microcontrollers for NFC (Near Field Communi­cation) applications, quoting an IMS Research study* (January 2012) showing that it had a 51.5 percent share in the NFC security microcontroller market.

The IMS Research study “The World Market for NFC – 2012 Edition”, January 2012 put the market share of other suppliers such as NXP at 31.8%, Samsung at 8.6% and STMicroelectronics at 5.6%. 

Infineon 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, the company claimed, makes it the only semiconductor manufacturer in the world to providing such flexibility in implementing the NFC functionality. Infineon 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, Infineon 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 sees that data is stored in encrypted form and remains encrypted for processing along the entire data path – CPUs, memories, caches and buses.

“We are delighted at this leading position and at our customers’ great trust in Infineon’s NFC security chips. We are the only semiconductor manufacturer in the world to support all NFC business models with our broad portfolio of security solutions. Data security is essential for sustained consumer confidence and successful NFC business models," said Stefan Hofschen, President of the Chip Card & Security Division at Infineon Technologies AG.

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.

IMS Research anticipates an average growth of 94 percent per annum for the NFC security microcontroller market from 2011 - 2016. The share of Embedded Secure Elements, as the main security solution for NFC applications, is to extend to 49% by the year 2016, followed by the SIM card at 33%. The market researchers forecast that 44% of all mobile phones sold in 2016 will be NFC-enabled.  
 
 

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