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NSW government gets into the smartphone case business

Outsourcing jobs one day, entering markets with oodles of private competitors the next

Website security in corporate America

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reports that the right-leaning government in the Australian state of New South Wales has decided to outsource lots of public service jobs because it believes there's a limit to what governments should do.

Why, then, is the same government entering the business of selling mobile phone cases?

The answer is simple: as of today the State's integrated public transport ticketing system is live at all of Sydney's train stations. Your correspondent possesses the “Opal Card”* at the heart of the scheme and can report it's a bit of a pain to find it in one's wallet every time one enters or leaves a train station.

Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian seems to have similar feelings.

“The vast majority of customers use their smartphone when travelling,” she's observed, declaring herself “excited a new range of Opal phone covers will mean convenient access to the network will always be within arm’s reach.”

The phone covers fit the iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s, or Samsung's Galaxy 3 and 4. All feature a pouch to hold an Opal Card on the case's exterior, from where we presume the card can be swiped at stations without needing to be withdrawn.

The Opal-card-ready 'flip' cover for Samsung's Galaxy S3

The Opal-card-ready 'flip' cover for Samsung's Galaxy S3

Cases start at $AUD9.95 and you can shop for them here, safe in the knowledge the NSW government has chosen to intervene in a market already featuring hundreds, if not thousands, of private sector competitors. ®

*The "Opal" name is consciously modelled on London's "Oyster Card".

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