Etisalat, Du begin issuing NFC-enabled SIM cards

Etisalat, Du start issuing NFC-enabled SIM cards which allow public trabnsport payments

Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA
After inserting your NFC-enabled SIM, tap your smartphoneat the Nol gates at Metro stations or ticket readers on buses.
10 Gulf News

Dubai: The special NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled SIM cards that are required to make public transport payments though mobile phones are now available to the public.

The NFC payment system, available on a range of smartphones, is already live and those who already have acquired the NFC SIM cards from service providers etisalat and Du can use the facility right away, according to a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official.

“The system is already live. Once the new SIM card is acquired and placed in the mobile, and the account is topped up, the mobile will work just like a Nol card and can be used to make payments on Metro, buses and water bus,” said Mohammad Yousuf Al Mudharreb, Director of Operations at RTA’s Rail Agency.

The NFC Nol accounts can be topped up either through the ticket counters at Dubai Metro or bus stations. The top-up can also be done online at through the unique number that will appear on mobile screens once the NFC SIM is placed in the smartphone.

The unique number can be used to check Nol balances and make auto top-ups as well.

Though the service is commendable, commuters are unhappy about the added cost of replacing and operating the SIM. Etisalat charges Dh25 for SIM replacement, with an additional cost of Dh50 for activation and a Dh5 monthly rental.

The other telecom operator Du charges a flat rate of Dh55 for SIM replacement.

“It is a good facility but it shouldn’t come at such a cost and it’s not worth the hassle of going to the operators and getting the SIM replaced, especially when the Nol card does the same job for you,” Ramzan Hasan, a regular commuter, said.

“The SIM replacement fee is understandable but I think the rentals will deter people from having the application. I wouldn’t have it for sure as it doesn’t give me anything extra from what a Nol card gives me,” Sarah Martinez, another regular commuter, said.

The SIM can be replaced at any etisalat or Du business centre across Dubai

Though NFC is available on most major smartphones, it is not available on iPhones. The mobile operators have a full list of compatible handsets.

Telecom operators were not immediately available for comments.

NFC is a set of standards for smartphones to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.


  • Jackson Jacob

    Oct 7, 2013 4:46

    In other news RTA has decided to increase the slot size of parking meters to accommodate entry of smartphones and tablets. Good job I must say.

  • Rudy

    Oct 7, 2013 4:29

    Not Acceptable at all. I will not pay extra for these transportations using NFC while I can use NOL card, plus it is free from our company.

  • Nijas

    Oct 7, 2013 2:21

    This is a real waste. I don't understand how the transportation or time gets reduced by having this facility, secondly by tapping continuously for a month or so, you are going to end up scratching your phone screen or back cover, thirdly why would somebody want to replace a cheap optionwith an expensive one having the same function.

  • Malik

    Oct 7, 2013 1:19

    Why would I want to tap my mobile (and scratch it) than tapping my wallet with a card in it; a card which I can also top up from the same points the mobile would be? I am sorry, I am not a very intelligent person but how does tapping and topping up mobiles improve efficiency in traveling on/by public transport?

  • Jhun Rivera

    Oct 7, 2013 12:27

    Such activation , rental charges & SIM replacement cost are notacceptable considering you will get the same service using the NOL card,aside from its more convinient to tap the NOL card being being so sleek,very light and more handy compare to Smartphone that a risk of slidingthe phone from your hand.

  • Rimal Raheel

    Oct 7, 2013 11:19

    5aed monthly rental? why would anybody want to pay 5aed monthly andactivation fees whereas NOL card is giving the same service with noactivation charge and monthly rental. i'm gonna keep using the NOL card.

  • Yoonus

    Oct 7, 2013 11:02

    Apart from monthly rental,it does not work in Parking machines, and wecan't topup it with Nol vending machines.

  • Mariakutty

    Oct 7, 2013 10:48

    This is an excellent option for those who don't use a 'wallet'.

  • Ali Chouhan

    Oct 7, 2013 10:44

    How we will pay the RTA parking through NFC sim as the NOL provide usthis facility?

  • mikhail

    Oct 7, 2013 10:05

    5dhs monthy rental ?? this is completely useless rather purchase a NOLfor 20dhs which gives a top up of 14dhs rather then paying 50dhs as aone time activation fees and 5dhs monthly another money making scheme inthe market.