Nokia and O2 get on the tube
Wireless payments come to London's tube
O2, Nokia and Transport for London are to trial Near Field Communications (NFC) handsets to host Oyster cards - so you'll be able pay for your tube journey using your mobile.
The trial will be announced tomorrow morning but will likely centre around the Nokia 6131-NFC handset, as that's the only model with the technology currently built in.
Oyster is based on Phillips' MiFare technology, otherwise known as ISO14443 Type A, which these days is a subset of NFC. So the Nokia handsets should already be compatible with the Oyster readers on the ticket gates.
Far more complicated than the wireless part is the logistics of managing tickets within the phone interface, and the security of the system. The Nokia 6131-NFC has a secure memory module within the handset, where the ticket information is stored, but many in the industry would like to see the SIM utilised for that kind of data: putting the ownership into the hands of the network operator rather than the phone manufacturer.
Japan, where the Felica system has been providing much the same functionality for some years, has the advantage of having one company, DoCoMo, in charge of the whole value chain, which simplifies things considerably.
O2 is involved in the announcement tomorrow - in fact it is hosting it, so it's possible it has had some input here. More likely, though, it is going to run the back-end to enable users to top up their Oyster credit over the air.
The scale of the trial and deployment schedule won't be revealed until the morning, but it could be a significant boost for NFC if the companies involved can generate enough publicity for customers to start asking for the capability in their phones. ®
"Where's the terrorism angle?"
Come on. The is El Reg. Where's the Paris Hilton angle?
Make your own Oyster Mobile
You can make your own Oyster mobile phone right now. Just glue your Oyster card to the back of your phone. No battery, no security concerns, 100% compatible, and best of all that's one less thing to remember to pick up in the morning.
@ Chris Mear
you my dear sir are a legend!
although i can see the point about having a "swiss army knife" phone which can do everything (email, music, video, camera, washing the dishes etc)
My only issue is that the phone companies are making phones that can do everything AND being the same size as a credit card and by making them this small, their batteries have about the same life span as lady mucca's career!
personally i like the fact my phone can do everything i want in one device. but i like it even more that its big enough to notice when you have missed trying to put it into your pocket on a friday night drinking sesh but its big enough to have a battery that could power a small village for a year!