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SCP Activity Report 2003

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 

Chairman: Klaus Vedder (Giesecke & Devrient GmbH)

Responsible for the development and maintenance of a common Integrated Circuit (IC) Card platform for all mobile telecommunication systems, for the application independent specifications for the interface with terminal equipment and for IC Card standards for general telecommunications and high security applications.

The main task for ETSI Project Smart Card Platform is to create a smart card platform for 2G and 3G mobile communication systems on which other organizations can base their system specific applications. In particular, this allows users access to global roaming by means of their smart card, irrespective of the radio access technology used. EP SCP also has an important part to play in the growth of mobile commerce, by developing the standards for IC cards to secure financial transactions over mobile communications systems.

Major achievements in 2003 in the evolution of the smart card platform were the specification of a smaller format for the smart card, the very first technical reports concerning electromagnetic compatibility and a new transport protocol for fast, secure end-to-end communication between applications.

The new form factor, the 'Mini-UICC', was introduced after an intensive discussion within EP SCP. Historically, there are already two form factors, the full credit card-sized card, and the smaller, postage stamp-sized, Plug-in card. The latter is, for example, the norm for GSM, a market that has now seen more than 2 billion smart cards deployed. The Mini-UICC, at only 12x15 mm, is just less than half the size of the Plug-in card, which measures 15x25 mm. It can be obtained by cutting away much of the excess plastic. Market forces were behind the decision; there are already many data-only GSM terminals in the market, many of them in the familiar PC-card form factor, and the market is seeing the development of even smaller data-only terminals (which could, for example, be incorporated in digital cameras), to the point where even the Plug-in card occupies too much volume in the terminal.

Electromagnetic compatibility between the smart card and the terminal becomes more and more important for the robustness of the interface in the light of decreasing voltage levels and higher data rates. The study of this topic resulted in two Technical Reports defining standard hardware equipment for electromagnetic measurements of smart cards and a common electromagnetic measurement procedure, as well as measures to improve the robustness.

A new transport protocol for applications residing on the smart card and communicating with a remote entity was specified. This Card Application Toolkit Transport Protocol (CAT_TP) is based on the 2G/3G Bearer Independent Protocol, which allows much higher data throughput compared with, say, the use of short messages.

To ensure the wide acceptance of its deliverables, EP SCP works closely with other standards-producing bodies. The successful collaboration between EP SCP and GlobalPlatform on technical issues resulted in the incorporation of the new features of the GlobalPlatform Card Specification 2.1 into the EP SCP specifications (in particular with regard to secure messaging).