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NFC trial: Londoners want to use their mobiles to travel and shop

Tony Savvas

Most users would be happy to pay for travel and buy goods using a mobile phone, says mobile operator O2.

O2 has announced the results of a trial which saw 500 London customers given mobile phones equipped with near field communications (NFC) technology, to make Oyster travel and Barclaycard wireless payments.

NFC allows a phone to be used to pay for items by being put against payment points.

O2 said nine out of 10 trialists were happy using NFC technology on a mobile phone, and 78% said they would be interested in using such "contactless" services if available in the future.

Convenience, ease-of-use and the status of having an innovative device were seen as the main benefits.

Interest in having Oyster on their mobile phones was particularly strong, with 89% of trialists saying they were interested in taking this up.

More than 66% of people also said they would be interested in having the Barclaycard Visa payWave feature on their mobile in the future.

The O2 Wallet trial took place over six months between November 2007 and May 2008 and involved 500 trialists. It tested consumer demand for having cards you would normally carry in a wallet, such as Oyster and credit cards, available on a Nokia 6131 NFC mobile phone.

To travel on London's transport system or make purchases in retail stores, the user simply touched the phone against a reader. The trial involved O2, Transport for London, Barclaycard, Visa Europe, TranSys, Nokia and AEG.

"Imagine going out for the night and only taking your mobile phone with you," said Claire Maslen, head of O2 NFC. "This trial takes us one step forward to achieving this by demonstrating that people want the convenience and practical benefits offered by services like the O2 Wallet."

Having Oyster on their mobile phone encouraged trialists to increase their use of public transport. Twenty two per cent using Pay as You Go Oyster reported that they increased the number of journeys they made on public transport during the trial.

Overall, almost 50,000 tube journeys took place using the O2 Wallet during the six month trial.

The Barclaycard Visa payWave payment application was also installed on the handset, enabling trialists to make contactless payments for £10 and under at retailers across London. These included Books Etc, Chop'd, Coffee Republic, EAT, Krispy Kreme, Threshers and Yo Sushi.

As well as making payments, participants could also use their Nokia 6131 NFC mobile phone to locate local retailers.


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