Etisalat, the largest operator in the Middle East and Africa regions with a market value in excess of AED 80 billion (US$20 billion) and annual revenues of approximately AED 30 billion (US$8 billion), announced the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) to study the possibility of using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to develop programs that would enable Emirates ID card data to be identified and transferred using NFC-enabled mobile phones.

The signing of this memorandum supports efforts by both parties to assess the feasibility of providing such services to nationals and expatriates in the UAE. As per the terms of the agreement, the NFC services for ID card will be implemented as a pilot project for the first few months and subsequently launched on a commercial basis in the country.

Speaking on the MoU, Engineer Nasser Al Mazroui, Executive Director, Communications and Information Systems, Emirates Identity Authority, said: “NFC can assist in providing creative, convenient and safe services for customers, while presenting new opportunities for data integration and communication. Our partnership with Etisalat continues our efforts to provide the most modern communication infrastructure for Emirates ID cardholders, who can benefit from the connectivity and compatibility of their smart cards.” Al Mazroui highlighted that EIDA remains committed to launch several creative services following completion of the residents’ registration stage in a way that supports the e-governance initiative of the UAE and its transformation to a “digital economy.” Highlighting the technological significance of the MoU, Marwan Al Qadi, Ag. Sr. Director of Electronic ‘&’ Mobile Commerce, Etisalat, said: “Today, mobile phones have become the most important personal item for individuals, and I am glad to note that Etisalat is developing solutions that are optimizing the value and utility of mobile phones for customers. Mobile NFC is making the internet of things’ a reality today by creating NFC links that can be used to connect remotely to target sites using phones. We are already seeing its many benefits in areas such as shopping, e-payments and cross-media functions.”

I must also applaud the vision of EIDA in identifying the potential advantages presented by this technology for ID cardholders,” Al Qadi added.

Near Field Communication, or NFC, is a short-range, high frequency wireless communication technology. NFC provides secure wireless communication between internet networked smart NFC devices, such as NFC mobile phones, and NFC enabled objects or other NFC receptions devices such as other mobile phones, payment terminals or identification readers.

The Near Field Communication technology concept is applied on any two devices separated by a short distance, where a smart card is used and short-range radio frequencies technique is applied to connect them.

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