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NFC handset trial draws favorable response in UK

Posted: 04 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NFC cellphone trial? contactless payment? near field communication service?

Europe's largest trial of NFC technology on mobile phones found that nine out of 10 consumers were satisfied using the technology on cellphone and 78 percent said they would be interested in using contactless services if available. Convenience, ease-of-use and the status of having such an innovative device were seen as the main benefits.

The O2 Wallet trial took place over six months between November 2007 and May 2008 and involved 500 testers. The trial 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 a range of industry leaders including O2, Transport for London, Barclaycard, Visa Europe, TranSys, Nokia and AEG.

Interest in having Oyster on their mobile phones was particularly strong with 89 percent of testers saying they were interested in taking this up. Over two-thirds of the group also said that they would be interested in having the Barclaycard Visa payWave feature on their mobile in the future.

"Imagine going out for the night and only taking your mobile phone with you" said Claire Maslen, head of 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."

All in one phone
Having Oyster on their mobile phone actually increased the testers' use of public transport. One in five (22 percent) 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.

Other key findings around Oyster on mobile include 67 percent of group said it was more convenient to use than a standard Oyster card and 87 percent said the availability of the service would be likely to influence their purchase of a new mobile phone.

A selection of the testers were provided with the Barclaycard Visa payWave application on the Nokia 6131 NFC mobile phone and following the trial, over two-thirds stated that they would be interested in using cashless payments on their mobile in the future. In addition, nearly half (47 percent) of the participants stated that being able to use their mobile to make payments would influence their choice of handset in the future.

Future services
The trial provides crucial insights into helping O2 and its partners ensure that the customer experience is right before bringing the O2 Wallet to market. The trial found that 85 percent of the participants said the model of the handset would influence their decision to take up NFC services, In addition, while the user interface is popular, the participants want to manage their accounts and view Oyster and Barclaycard balances through the application. Most importantly, the participants demand speed and convenience from using their cellphones but could see the benefits of being asked for a PIN periodically to enhance security, similar to the contactless card experience today.

Maslen stated, "In theory, any card that you carry in your wallet could be on your mobile in the future. To make this a reality we need to work across industry with a shared vision of what commercial services will look like. To that end O2 will be proposing an industry taskforce with the aim of bringing together mobile operators, handset manufacturers and key players from the transport and finance sectors to form the foundations for commercial NFC on mobile services."

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