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DialUp Purchases

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Before long you will be able to walk up to a vending machine, pull out your cell phone, and purchase some goodies just by dialing a special number. It is already happening in Europe and Australia and is coming to the USA. Pennsylvania-based e-Vend.net rolled out last week its new 1-800-CELLPAY service which enables consumers to purchase items from vending machines using a cellular phone linked to a credit card. Customers need only approach a vending machine, dial the posted telephone number and select the snack or beverage of their choice. The charge shows up on the customer’s cellular phone bill or on a credit card/debit card linked to the account. Kodak is gearing up to offer the new service for the 2002 Olympics whereby consumers will be able to purchase film and disposable cameras with their cellular phone. Maytag’s Dixie Narco division, an e-Vend investor, is also considering the technology under an OEM arrangement. In March USA Technologies and Marconi Online Systems signed a deal to bring together Marconi Online’s Intelligent Vending service with USA Technologies’ e-Port technology. Marconi and the primary European Coca-Cola bottler launched a pilot in February for Dial-a-Coke with enables European consumers to pay for their drink using a GSM cellular phone. A similar service was launched this year in Australia.

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