Fourteen mobile phone operators are working together on short-range wireless technology for contactless applications in mobile phones.

Vodafone, Telefónica China Mobile Communications and others have joined a project to put Near Field Communications (NFC) in wireless handsets, run by the GSM Association. The project aims to extend the secure billing and identity service provided by the operators' SIM card to applications like ticketing.

NFC has evolved from a combination of RFID (radio frequency identification) and interconnection technologies. It enables two devices to connect and exchange information by bringing them together over a distance of a less than 10 centimeters.

Earlier this year, the German public transportation authority Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) launched one of the world's first commercial wireless ticketing services based on NFC technology, in collaboration with Nokia, Philips and Vodafone.

But a broad rollout of NFC has been hampered by a lack of clearly defined NFC standards to ensure international interoperability, according to the GSM Association. Its NFC project aims to help create standards by developing business cases and user requirements that will be incorporated in a white paper for consideration by standardisation bodies, including the NFC Forum and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

The NFC Forum, which promotes the standardisation and implementation of this new short-range wireless technology, was launched by Philips and Sony, which jointly developed NFC.

Original reporting by IDG News Service.