Some 200 commuters across the Netherlands have begun piloting a service that lets them tap in and out of public transport using their smartphone. The pilot has been put in place by mobile network operators Vodafone and KPN in partnership with OV public transport card provider Translink and all the transport agencies in the country.
“If the test is successful, TransLink, KPN and Vodafone will offer Smart-OV to a wide audience in 2016,” KPN says. “Other telecom companies can join. Interested travelers can sign up via the website. If travelers meet the conditions and are selected, they can travel with the OV-chip card on their smartphone on all public transport companies in the Netherlands.”
“Vodafone customers in the pilot use both Vodafone Wallet and a dedicated Smart-OV app,” Vodafone told NFC World. “The Wallet is used to check if customers are technically eligible for the service and to safely install the OV chip card on the SIM card.
“The Smart-OV app is providing the user interface for travelling, providing notifications when touching in and out as well as information about the card balance and the latest transactions made with the card.”
“The OV chip card is the personalised travel card with an auto reload function that’s being used to touch in and out for public transport, communicating via the smartphone’s NFC function with the card readers in buses and the gates in train and metro stations,” the carrier added. “In this pilot, it is installed on the customer’s SIM card instead of being issued as a plastic card.”
“Such a field test will give us valuable user feedback with which we can refine and finalise the product before its mass market introduction after a successful pilot,” says Bart Hofker, director of the consumer business unit at Vodafone. “I am quite confident this will be a feasible goal.”
KPN has announced it will also begin issuing all new mobile subscribers with NFC SIM cards from 1 January 2016. Current KPN customers with a regular SIM card will be supplied with NFC SIM cards on request.