Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s Orange has seen the future, and it's contactless: The mobile group is ushering in new SIM cards and handsets that will be electronic-reader-friendly, allowing transactions to be made with a swipe of the phone. The new SIM cards will be introduced for post-paid subscribers in most of the group’s European operations from the second half of 2011. Orange is also in talks with handset manufacturers to make it more likely that most of the new smartphone models it buys will be compatible with contactless services when combined with the new, secure SIM card. (See Orange Targets Contactless Services and Nice Move for NFC.)
Alcatel-Lucent's R&D arm, Bell Labs , is teaming up with Belgian research institute IBBT to establish a joint lab that will be charged with inventing applications that will "bring a new dimension to video communications" and develop the high-speed networks able to carry them. No pressure, then... (See Bell Labs Teams on Video R&D.)
Vodafone Germany has brought commercial LTE services to the North Rhine Westphalia region for the first time, in the town of Ruppichteroth, reports Telecompaper (subscription only). Broadband speeds on offer reach the giddy velocity of 50 Mbit/s for those with the fattest wallets.
Also on Reuters, Russian mobile giant Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has revealed that the authorities in the central Asian state of Turkmenistan have suspended its license for one month from Dec. 21 for unspecified violations of its license conditions.