O2 today announced the launch of the UK’s first large scale pilot of NFC (Near Field Communications) technology on mobile phones.

O2 Wallet

“Research shows that people are more likely to return home if they leave their phone behind than their wallet or keys,” said Cath Keers, Customer Director, O2 UK. “So why not have your wallet on your phone? We believe that NFC technology is going to fundamentally change the way people use their mobile phones.”

The trial, which will involve over 500 people invited from the O2 customer base, takes place across selected sites throughout London and begins on 28th November 2007 running for six months until the end of May 2008.

NFC is a contactless functionality, enabling a wide range of secure uses including cashless payments, public transport and event ticketing, and smart posters. In order to make this as comprehensive a pilot as possible, O2 has brought together a broad range of partners, including Transport for London, TranSys, Barclaycard, Visa Europe, Nokia and AEG.

nokia wallet

Each trialist will be given a Nokia 6131 NFC handset installed with the O2 Wallet. Just like a normal wallet, this will hold various everyday cards, including Oyster and Barclaycard, but in virtual form and with NFC functionality. Trialists will be able to test a wide range of different services in London, such as making purchases in retail outlets and travelling on London’s public transport system. All participants will be asked to provide feedback on the services featured in the O2 Wallet evaluating its ease of use, security and overall usefulness.

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