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Everyone appears to be launching a phone nowadays. If it is not the iPhone which you can play iTunes music on, or the gPhone that you can presumably search for pron on your handset with, it’s something else. Well, step forward Transport for London, who have taken a break from running London’s transport infrastructure to launch a handset you can use to pay for journeys on the Tube.

According to reports from the Guardian, trials of the new device from Nokia could take place soon with the organisation in talks with O2 and the Finnish phone giant.

While all parties remained silent like a nun that taken a vow of silence, O2 has been busy sending around invites for a launch of a new trial which will see a handset being used to make contactless payments. I.e. you can pay for some sweeties at the newsagents using a phone (what a surprise the newsagent has an Oyster Card reader that he uses to sell travelcards and PAYG). The smart money is on the phone being a Nokia 6131.

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"You are invited to join O2 and leading partners from the mobile, transport and financial sectors for the launch of a groundbreaking new trial which is going to change the way people use their mobile phones and interact with day-to-day services," read the invitation send to us.

Most new types of handsets use Near-Field Communications (NFC – see here) to allow contactless payments and not as some people have thought RFID. It will be interesting to see if the thing works as well on the underground as it does in the labs. More to the point wouldn’t getting out a flash new phone to pay for a trip on the underground make the user a target for muggers?

We shall let you know more when we find out tomorrow.

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