Singtel, M1 and Starhub either launched, or are set to launch, rival services which enable commuters to pay for train and bus rides with their smartphones, with one of the three promising more to follow.
The NFC transit SIM was jointly developed by the three operators with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, Infocomm Development Authority and EZ-Link, which runs the contactless smart card currently used on the country’s transport system and in some retail outlets.
The launch follows a joint trial which ended in February 2016. Started in August 2014 with rail services and then extended to buses in September 2015, this involved the testing of 15 NFC-enabled smartphone models with the new NFC SIM, recording more than 30,000 transactions by 1,000 users.
M1 claimed to hit the market first with its launch of the NFC transport SIM this week. It costs SGD37.45 ($28) including tax. As a launch promotion, the service activation fee of SGD9.10 (including tax) will also be waived for customers signing up until 30 April 2016, or while NFC stocks last.
Users of Singtel’s Dash app can already pay for taxis with their smartphones. Now it will add MRT and LRT (both railways) and bus rides with its SIM, which is available from late April.
Singtel users will be to purchase the SIMs from its shops “at prevailing SIM rates with no additional costs”. The usual SGD5 EZ-Link registration fee will be waived for a limited time.
Meanwhile Singtel is also talking up its future plans. The operator is a player in mobile payments through its Dash app, which enables offline and online transactions from a mobile wallet.
And Gan Siok Hooh, vice president of m-commerce, consumer, Singapore, added: “We have exciting plans coming up and will soon unveil an enhanced mobile payments app that will offer greater convenience and rewards to our customers and retailers.”
Starhub has yet to reveal its plans for a transport SIM.