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Mobile phone behemoths Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola have joined forces to develop what they hope will become the de facto standard for secure mobile electronic transactions. The companies believe the move will create a huge demand for new mobile phones offering secure e-commerce for transactions such as banking, buying train and plane tickets, paying for parking and ordering products over the Internet. In an alarmingly-short time, even by the mad standards of the mobile phone industry, they plan to publish a draft of their security plan (as soon as next month). The trio will then invite other industry players to participate in the finalisation of an open standard before the summer. In typically bullish mood, the telephonic triumvirate claims that in three years' time, more people will be accessing the Web by phone than by PC. "Our ambition is to formulate an environment which allows mobile operators, financial institutions, and other service providers to facilitate secure electronic transactions," said Jan Ahrenbring, VP of Marketing and Communications at Ericsson. "We estimate that by 2004 there will be around one billion users of mobile telephony and some 600 million mobile Internet subscribers worldwide. "The most important thing needed to get all these consumers to start using mobile e-commerce is a standard that makes it safe and easy to use." Acronym alert The phone makers say their new standard will incorporate WAP, Bluetooth, WIM (Wireless Identification Module), PKI (Public Key Technologies) and WTLS (Wireless Transport Layer Security) technology, as well as the mobile payment schemes already in use. Products could be with us as early as next year, they claim, which will be capable of replacing wallets, ID cards, credit cards and cash. This will obviously make things a lot easier for criminals who will now only need to steal one item per mugging. ® Related stories Wap throws up latest bunch of gazillionaires Don't believe the m-commerce hype Text me, Cindy (my Bluetooth baby) The future is bright, the future is wireless

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