South America

Schlumberger points to a new payphone system in Uruguay as an example. Last year, Uruguay's national telephone operator, Administraci´┐Żn Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Antel, www.antel.com.uy), replaced the country's coin-operated and magnetic stripe-based payphones with a smart card system in order to eliminate fraud and vandalism. To date, more than 6,000 smart card phone booths have been installed and are in use.

Schlumberger says the demand for smart phone cards is double what the company anticipated. In addition to practically eliminating vandalism, the company says the new system has given Antel better visibility of network traffic and of user preferences. This lets the carrier pinpoint better locations for future phones.

In the meantime, Schlumberger officials are talking to Uruguayan officials about expanding the smart card telecom program into a wide-ranging public payment infrastructure, which may incorporate parking ramps and meters, and public transportation systems.