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Du launches mobile payment pilot

UAE operator and Dubai First in Near Field Communication trial

UAE mobile operator Du has teamed up with credit card company Dubai First to launch the region’s first mobile payment trial.

250 Dubai First customers will be given mobile phones that they will be able to use to make purchases from approximately 200 outlets in Dubai.

The Nokia handsets will be equipped with ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) technology, which allows the transmission of small packets of data from devices such as mobile phones by holding the device next to a reader.

Speaking at a demonstration of the technology in Dubai, Du CEO Osman Sultan described the trial as “a major step”. He said: “It will make the phone an even more used instrument in our lives – it makes the phone like money, like a credit card.

“New generations of people will not be able to conceive of a time when you couldn’t pay using a mobile phone.”

The trial will last six months, after which time more credit card companies and banks could be included in the project when it is launched commercially “later in the year”.

Dubai First CEO, Ibrahim Al Ansari moved to allay security fears about the payment method.

He said that the level of security on the devices was the same as a credit card, with the option of using a PIN number to authorise transactions.