Buying coke with your mobile is Virgin on the bizarre

Got nobody to talk to on your mobile? Give a vending machine a ring

While their boss is squabbling over the National Lottery, the lads and lasses at Virgin have come up with the world's first cellular vending machine.

Using "dial and drink" technology (I kid you not), the theory goes that you're more likely to be carrying your mobile phone than enough cash to buy a canned drink. Therefore, why not add the price of a drink onto your phone bill instead?

Sounds a bit sci-fi, but Virgin and Ericsson have got as far as knocking up a prototype machine. There's a telephone number on the front, and a few seconds after giving it a call, out popped a can of coke. Apparently this machine is destined for one of Virgin's Megastores in London.

In theory, you could use this to pay for more expensive items and never have to carry a wallet again. On the other hand, if you then lose your mobile you'd have to be pretty quick at cancelling it. There's not much danger yet, though, unless you're targeted by a thief who really likes Virgin Cola.

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