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Phone Card Industry
Prepaid phonecards were invented in Europe in the fall of 1975. However, calling cards were not available until 1986. Since there inception, the calling card and phone card industry has grown exponentially across the globe. Today, the international phone card is sold in over 185 countries around the world.
In 1975, the Phone Card was invented. The company that is widely considered as the founder is SIDA. However, SIDA was not in the telecommunications industry, but was a manufacturer and supplier of vending machines.
In 1976, the first prepaid phone cards were produced and put on the market in Italy. Italy made the move in hopes that it would reduce payphone vandalism. The first cards to be introduced had a magnetic strip on the back for use in special phones to combat the coin shortage. The first cards were too thin and jammed frequently.
In 1977, Prepaid calling cards using magnetic strip authorization spread to the rest of Europe. In particular to Austria, Sweden, France, and The United Kingdom.
In 1978, inductive technology was invented by Nelson G.Bardini in Brazil. The system uses a series of coils embedded in the card. The card was first shown at a national inventors' exhibition in 1982.
In 1982, Japan's Nippon Telephone and Telegraph introduced the first Japanese pre-paid phone card. Japanese commuters had to use a large coin to operate payphones on their subways. The Japanese card was considerably more convenient and was sold to tens of thousands of daily subway riders in Osaka and Tokyo.
In 1984, France experiments with chip-based "smart cards".
In 1987, World Telecom Group is the first company to launch a significant phone-card product in the United States. GPT, a consortium formed by Siemens and General Electric Company, developed and issued cards with their own magstripe technology. This is now among the most widely used magstripe cards.
Phone Card Industry: Part 2
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