Engadget reported today that NFC hardware can be embedded into SIM cards and 45 of the world's largest wireless carriers are on board with this practice, to be adopted as the GSM Association's standard.
"Among the networks, you'll find heavy hitters such as China Mobile and China Unicom (which account for nearly 800 million subscribers between the two), along with familiar names such as America Movil, AT&T, Deutsche Telecom, KPN, Orange, Rogers, SFR, SK Telecom, Softbank, Telus, Verizon and Vodafone," wrote Engadget's Zachary Lutz.
It turns out that Isis, the joint mobile payment project between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile USA is supporting the NFC-in-SIM-card standard as well.
"Mobile operators, working together, are ideally positioned to roll out services based on the requirements published by the GSMA, providing proven security and interoperability, global reach and customer care for consumers and businesses and a secure platform for service providers," said Anne Bouverot, the GSMA's Director General, in a statement.
For now, it appears that Google's exclusive use of NFC "Google Wallet" technology within specific Android phones (like the Sprint Samsung Nexus S) isn't so exclusive anymore.
Of course, the Google Wallet user experience may prove to be superior, but many industry observers believe we're still a few years away from mainstream "wallet phone" use -- in North America, at least. My colleague, Collin Prior (iQmetrix UX Architect/Business Analyst), estimates we're 3-5 years out.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see...