The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced its partnership with Etisalat & du to launch its first ‘Smart Nol’ Service for Dubai commuters utilizing public transport.
“We are providing this service for NFC enabled mobile phone user via a special SIM card to use NOL services for public transport and in future for micropayments in UAE. Customers will have similar experience to NOL cards and there is no major change in using it. Currently we have more than 6 million NOL cards and we are expecting good adaptation from our customer base since UAE has a good number of NFC enabled handsets.” said Abdulla Ali Al Madani, CEO of RTA CTSS.
NFC technology enables short-range wireless communication between two devices that each transmits and receives information. NFC-enabled phones are even more convenient than contactless cards, with no fumbling in a wallet for the right card and no waiting in lines in front of ticket boxes and vending machines.
iPhone users misery
The technology will not be available on iPhone as it is not NFC enabled. iPhone fans were expecting the NFC technology to be introduced in the new versions, however Apple continues to ignore this technology.
Apple and eBay’s PayPal are working on technology that can detect a smartphone’s presence in a store through Bluetooth and send coupons or enable payments wirelessly. That’s more flexible than NFC, which works through frequencies transmitted from a phone that is in close proximity to a reading device.
Though Apple has said little about its technology, called iBeacon, beyond a mention in a slideshow at a June event,
“By virtue of this pivotal service, you can use your NFC phone to check in and check out at the metro stations, public bus and water bus as well as reload and check your Nol balance” added Al Madani.
Commuters can utilize RTA’s Smart NOL technology by placing their mobile devices against the card readers at the passing gates of the metro stations, or validator devices onboard public buses and water buses. Smart NOL can be used to pay for daily trips via certified NFC enabled devices. Public Transport users can subscribe to the Smart NOL service through Etisalat & Du outlets and know what devices and model are compatible with the NFC service.
Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Commercial Officer, du, said: “We believe that our role goes beyond providing telecom services to be a catalyst for society’s advancement, through our involvement in projects such as this which revolutionize the public transport experience and support the ‘Smart Government’ vision. Our collaboration with the RTA to launch NFC is in line with our ongoing commitment to innovation and enhancing customer experience. This ground-breaking new payment system will make travelling across Dubai even more easy and convenient than ever before, and we are proud to be part of it.”
The NFC SIM cards will be available at Etisalat and du business centers from Sunday, 29th September 2013.