Tube mobile coverage to miss Olympics deadline

Summary:But mobile wallets get Olympic lift with Samsung and Visa NFC deal...

But mobile wallets get Olympic lift with Samsung and Visa NFC deal...

Olympic park: London games to see NFC boost but no mobile coverage in deep Tube tunnels

London 2012 Olympic Games to give mobile wallets a leg-up but don't expect a mobile signal on Tube trainsPhoto: Andy Miah

Contactless mobile wallets look set to be given a leg-up by the London 2012 Olympic Games but the race to get mobile phone coverage on the London Underground in time for the games has once again hit the buffers.

Yesterday mobile maker Samsung and payments company Visa announced a strategic alliance to boost the use of contactless mobile payments in the UK in time for the Olympics. Contactless payments use near-field communications (NFC) - a short-range wireless comms technology that enables transactions such as payments and ticketing to be made with a mobile handset simply by waving it over a compatible reader.

The pair committed to launching a mobile wallet handset loaded with a Visa contactless payment app in time for the games. The handset will be given to Samsung- and Visa-sponsored athletes taking part in the games but will also go on sale to UK consumers.

It's not the first time Samsung and Visa have worked together on mobile wallets. Last year the companies were involved in a mobile payments trial in the Spanish city of Sitges. At the time, Visa tipped the 2012 London Olympic Games as a key date for mobile wallet use to grow in the UK.

But while more mobile wallets look likely to be in use by the London 2012 Olympics, mobile users will still be unable to get mobile coverage on London Underground Tube trains and in deep tunnels.

Last month The Sunday Times reported that Transport for London (TfL) was close to a deal with operators and suppliers to push out Tube mobile phone coverage by 2012. But today TfL said the chance of a deal in time for the Olympics has been derailed - not for the first time.

"The Mayor and TfL made it clear that, given the financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would have to be funded...

Topics: Mobility

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