Infineon Technologies and Sony to Cooperate on Contactless Chip Card ICs; Paving the Way for Multi-Application Cards in Public Transportation Services, Electronic Purse Systems and Identification

Nov 13, 2001 | Market News

Joint news release by Infineon Technologies and Sony

Munich, Germany / Tokyo, Japan – 13. November 2001 – Infineon Technologies (FSE/NYSE: IFX), the world’s leading supplier of chip card integrated circuits (ICs), and Sony Corporation today announced that they will jointly develop secure integrated circuits (ICs) for contactless chip card systems. Combining Sony’s contactless chip card technology “FeliCa”, which is based on Type C, and Infineon's expertise in secure chip card ICs, the agreement will expand the contactless chip card market including multi-application cards, card terminals and background infrastructure systems for data management. The jointly developed ICs are targeted to be available by the end of 2002. These ICs will be integrated as dual interface chips which have both contact and contactless interfaces.

The cards combine authentication and identification with the stringent requirements for fast authorization in access applications, such as electronic tickets in public transport, company or government issued ID cards, and banking cards. Based on their encryption and decryption functionality, the cards enable secure and reliable transactions.

Infineon estimates the worldwide market for chip cards to reach up to 4.5 billion cards in 2006, about 25 percent of which equipped with contactless technology. According to market research company Gartner Dataquest, worldwide chip card shipments totaled about 1.8 billion units in the year 2000.

Today, already more than 25 million contactless chip cards based on Sony's FeliCa technology have been shipped globally. About 11 million contactless chip cards– currently equipped with on-card-memory – have been shipped in Hong Kong for public transport systems such as subway, bus and ferry. Japan Railway East will use FeliCa cards in about 400 stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area, starting from this month.

“Market success of contactless chip card applications depends on the ability to provide complete solutions. Combining Sony’s system know-how with Infineon’s expertise in secure semiconductor solutions and manufacturing processes will provide the benchmark for contactless technology of the future,” said Dr. Hermann Eul, senior vice president and general manager of the Security & Chip Card ICs Business Group of Infineon Technologies. “This agreement enables complete system solutions paving the way for powerful chip cards that combine multiple applications such as public transportation services, electronic purse systems and identification, as well as best-price loyalty programs.”

"I am delighted that Sony and Infineon have reached this agreement to jointly develop chips which introduce Sony's Type C contactless chip card technology. Our cooperation will result in the application of this technology in transport systems, as well as in the finance and administrative fields. We also plan to offer many new access-modes for Sony's FeliCa as a key network device technology for the future," said Hiromasa Ohtsuka, President of Sony's Broadband Network Center.

Technical Information on the Companies’ Agreement

The agreement combines Sony’s expertise in contactless chip card technology with Infineon’s know-how in design of secure chip card ICs and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. Under the terms of the agreement, Sony will contribute its Type C contactless chip card specifications and FeliCa operating system. Infineon will integrate this interface technology in its contactless IC product family. Infineon will manufacture the dual interface ICs with the jointly-defined Type C secure technology and supply them to Sony. This will make Infineon the only manufacturer of chip card ICs that fully comply with the three contactless interface formats Type A, Type B and Type C. These three formats differ in the protocols for data transmission.

Benefits of Contactless Chip Cards

Unlike contact-based chip cards, requiring a physical interface between the card and a reader to transfer information, a contactless chip card contains a special transmission module for “over-the-air“ data communication. This transmission module consists of a chip and an antenna embedded in the card. The card does not have to be inserted into a terminal’s slot.

Service providers in a wide range of private industry and public organizations will benefit in multiple ways from the enhanced capabilities of contactless chip card technology. For example, contactless chip card technology reduces system and maintenance costs for service providers and, compared to today’s magnetic strip cards, enhances protection against fraud. Additionally, availability of solutions will ease and speed-up the introduction of contactless systems. The contactless chip cards also present a higher level of flexibility to service providers. By matching a cards’ services to customers’ needs, the service providers can offer multiple services on the cards without having to exchange them in the field.

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for applications in the wired and wireless communications markets, for security systems and smartcards, for the automotive and industrial sectors, as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In the fiscal year 2001 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.67 billion with about 33,800 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at

Further information on Infineon’s contactless product portfolio at

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be a leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of nearly $60 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001. Sony's Home Page URL:

Media Relations contact for Infineon Technologies in Japan
Hirotaka Shiroguchi
Phone: +81 3 5449 6795

Media Relations contact for Sony
Gerald Cavanagh
Phone: +81 3 5448 2200

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  • Infineon Technologies and Sony cooperate on Type C contactless chip card ICs enabling contactless multi-application cards for public transpor-tation services, electronic purse systems and identification
    Infineon Technologies and Sony cooperate on Type C contactless chip card ICs enabling contactless multi-application cards for public transpor-tation services, electronic purse systems and identification
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