Just who was Superphone?
Superphone was a Telecommunications company setup in Cloughran in County Dublin on the airport road a stonethrow away from the City Airport itself. Over the years Superphone manufactured cardphones which would accept phonecards with a magnetic strip. These were very basic paper style cards of credit card size but were only 0.26mm thick thus were very flimsy and as a result many of the low print cards were damaged once used or lying in somebodys wallet for a long period of time.
The first cards were made up of a blue front bearing the Superphone logo and the back containing a magnetic strip at the bottom and an image or logo of the locations of where the cards could be used such as Ardcavins coaches. The phones was based on the old Eircom 088 network so they proved to be ideal for awkward locations such as on board buses and boats. The phones were in fact a Motorola 66CCX car phone contained inside an outer shell with a small hatch where the card could be inserted. The phones could not be accessed without a card.
The unusual thing about early cards was the fact that a face value was not known for the cards. However some were produced in 5, 10, 20 or 50 units values. By 1994 Superphone was ready to manufacture its first chip cards. Its very first card issued in May 1994 Alcock & Brown's first transatlantic flight a 30 unit card was limited to just 50 cards however due to various technical problems a total of 13 cards were only produced to show what the finished card would look like. Due to problems with Gemplus's printing machinery the project was delayed for approx 6 months. The chipset used on this card was Gemplus Gp2 chipset which can hold upto 23,679 units still impressive with todays chipsets.
Despite its first setback they changed manufacturer and switch to O.D.S. a German card manufacturer. The first card was again another image of Alcock & Brown's first transatlantic flight but this time was a 5 unit card and contained the ODS1 Chipset. Again a small print run of only 200 was issued to see what the product would look like and huge variety of errors occured on this card.
However almost all of Superphones cards produced were flawed from being delivered late or having been manufactured bent which really is a shame, but despite this I really would recommend you obtain copy's of any of Superphones chip cards as these cards whenever possible as they are both extremely extremely beautiful and well taught out and some cards come together with attractive folders. A must for any true Irish collector or world wide collector looking for rare cards as the highest print run to my knowledge was 600 cards.
I myself dont know if Superphone still exsists but often passed their premises in Dublin having worked for Dimpco Electronics myself some years ago, so if you know anything more about Superphone I'd be grateful for any assistance you could provide me with.
For a list of all Superphone releases click here
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