Austria: ‘Rollout’ Uses NFC Reader Mode To Sell Tickets and Snacks
Billed by mobilkom as the world’s first NFC “rollout,” the project put the Nokia 6131 on sale in shops in fall 2007, following a trial the previous year. Mobilkom’s NFC service cuts out some steps for SMS-based ticketing, vending and parking services the telco had launched years earlier. For ticketing, subscribers with the NFC phones tap contactless chip tags embedded in fixtures at some stations of the Austrian national railway and Vienna metro, which automatically opens the mobile ticketing application and fills in some of the information. Users confirm and receive single-use and day tickets via SMS or the mobile Internet. Transit stations in Austria have no gates so they do not need to tap the phones on readers. The users can also make purchases at some vending machines in stations, by tapping their phones on chip tags on the machines and confirming the sale. And with tags embedded in cards they receive in their phone packs, they can use other services, including parking and mobile gambling. The telco expanded the service to include Nokia’s first 3G NFC phone, the 6212, in 2009. This enabled it to sell transit tickets through the WAP browser. Mobilkom also used the phone for a separate trial of transit ticketing, putting tickets onto an embedded chip in the phones.
Mobilkom has demonstrated that NFC’s reader mode could be put to good use facilitating the selling of tickets and snacks over the mobile network. The telco, which launched its own bank in 2002, believes NFC can help it expand use of its mobile parking, ticketing and other services, which use SMS or WAP for the actual transactions. But it will need more interesting handset models to significantly expand the service.
Mobilkom says it has seen a significant increase in transactions for mobile ticketing, vending and other mobile commerce services thanks to NFC, which cuts out the number of steps users must carry out to conduct the SMS- or mobile-Internet based transactions. The telco hasn’t released transaction figures involving the NFC phones, however. It says it has sold 40,000 of the Nokia 6131 and 6212 NFC phones since putting them in stores in fall 2007, although it acknowledges it probably would have sold as many of the same models without NFC. All told, mobilkom has installed 470 tags in subway stations and 100 in national railway stations, along with 450 on vending machines in stations. It has also distributed 200,000 “personal” tags in the phone kits, which subscribers can tap to more easily play the mobile lottery, buy ringtones and use other services.
* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.
N/A: Not available or not applicable.