Moscow Airport Shuttle Continues NFC Test; Rollout Possible

Moscow airport shuttle service Aeroexpress is launching the second phase of its NFC ticketing trial, using NFC chips with flexible antennas and stickers as well as NFC phones, to enable participants to buy tickets with a tap of their handsets.

About 200 participants, mainly employees of Aeroexpress, will participate in the second phase, which is being expanded to Aeroexpress’ rail service between Moscow central train stations and airports Vnukovo International Airport, Moscow Domodedovo Airport and Sheremetyevo International Airport. 

Russia-based Processing Technologies, the main technology vendor on the project, said plans call for a commercial launch by the end of the year, possibly with all major Russian mobile operators in Russia, MTS, MegaFon, as well as Vimpelcom.

During the first phase of the trial, held between November 2010 and January 2011, about 40 participants could tap their Nokia 6212 NFC phones on smart posters to buy tickets to Sheremetyevo.

After tapping, customers would be sent an SMS message asking them to confirm the ticket purchase. They would download the tickets to their phones by following a link to a mobile Web site, then show the ticket on their phone screens to a conductor. It was apparently possible also to tap the phone on readers at turnstiles or on portable terminals carried by conductors.

Users also could buy the ticket by directly opening an “AeroexpressMobile” application on the phones to buy and download the tickets.

A spokeswoman for Processing Technologies told NFC Times that MegaFon and MTS would participate in the new phase of the trial. Vimpelcom had been involved in the first phase. MTS would issue SIM cards that link with flexible antennas and wrap around or rest on top of the battery to give non-NFC phones an NFC interface. The flex-antenna product is probably being supplied by France-based Gemalto, said the spokeswoman. MegaFon is planning to issue stickers made by a Russian manufacturer, though it’s not clear how these will work with the ticketing service.

The spokeswoman for Processing Technologies, the systems integrator on the trials, said the company also planned to use NFC phones in the second phase, including the older Nokia 6212 models.

“The goal of the initial stage of the pilot was to test the usability of the service, while during the second stage, different technical solutions will be tried,” said Processing Technologies in a statement. “By the end of this trial, the service will be available for subscribers of all major mobile operators.”

 

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