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Mobilkom Austria Bundles NFC-enabled Phone and Tags

The tags enable consumers to use the phones to gain quick access to ring tones, traffic reports and other services.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Apr 14, 2009Mobilkom Austria is selling the Nokia 6212 Classic handset along with four pre-programmed Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags that consumers can utilize to access specific services. Mobilkom is the first cell phone service provider to bundle an NFC-enabled phone together with the NFC tags; in so doing, the company hopes to spur adoption of NFC technology.

The Nokia 6212 Classic phone includes an NFC module that functions as an RFID reader and passive tag.
An NFC-compliant tag stores a unique ID number and other data, then transmits that information in an encrypted format at 13.56 MHz. An NFC-enabled phone can act as an interrogator that reads passive 13.56 MHz tags based on the ISO 18092, ISO 14443 (A or B) and Sony FeliCa air-interface protocols, culling the data from the tags. The device can also share encrypted payment data and other information with computer terminals.

Mobilkom Austria began selling the phone-and-tag package to consumers last month. The NFC RFID tags offered by Mobilkom are manufactured by Innovision. A customer can read any of the tags by holding them up to the Nokia handset. According to Werner Reiter, a spokesperson for Mobilkom Austria, when the phone reads a tag, data encoded to that tag instructs the phone to launch a specific application or link to a particular Web page, thereby saving the user time and avoiding the hassle of navigating to the app or site manually. While Mobilkom indicates it's still too early to track sales of the package and how purchasers are using the tags, the company reports that customers have thus far responded favorably to the convenience the tags offer.

One of the tags links the phone directly to a Web site at which users can purchase ring tones, pictures and animations for their phones. Another links to a page maintained by the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC), which posts current traffic information and fuel prices. A third tag connects to online sports news provided by Laola1.

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