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November 28, 2007

O2 and Nokia develop Oyster card phones

by Jan Harris

O2, Nokia and Transport for London are collaborating on a project to develop mobile phones with embedded Oyster swipe cards.

Users will be able to swipe the handset over Oyster Card readers at the ticket gates of London Underground stations, in order to pay for their fare.

The system is expected to use a variant of RFID technology called near-field communications, which allows the contactless exchange of data between devices over a short distance.

The fare would be deducted from a top-up account linked to the phone, in the same way that pay-as-you-go mobile services can be paid for. It could also be added to the user’s phone bill. A trial of the new technology is scheduled to start in 2008.

The mobile payment scheme will expand the Oyster card scheme already in use by London Underground. Travellers are able to pay fares with a single swipe card. This scheme incorporates the Visa PayWave card, which is a combined credit card, Oyster card and a contactless payment technology.

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