European smart card vendor Gemalto says it is teaming with Italy's Telecom Italia Mobile (Tim) to develop a contactless payments system that enables passengers to use their mobile phones to pay for journeys on public transport.
Tim has selected Gemalto to supply applications to be embedded in SIM cards that will allow customers to use their handsets to pay for public transport in the Italian province of Trento.
Gemalto says the near field communications (NFC)-based system will make travelling easier and faster as ticket issuance becomes more efficient and interactive. Users can purchase tickets from anywhere at anytime through their handset and validate their transport pass even when the mobile phone is off.
Contactless transit systems also cut costs for operators and creates new business for telcos, says Gemalto.
Gemalto says the system will be the first of its kind in Italy but the vendor has worked on several similar projects in Europe. Last year the firm worked with SFR, NRJ Mobile and Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois on a payment and transport application, whilst another partnership with Orange, SNCF and Keolis led to contactless bus, tram, train and parking services in Rennes.
"Contactless transport infrastructures have already been deployed in hundreds of cities all over the world; users rapidly adopt the technology and enjoy the strong benefits that it offers. That is why we forecast that transportation applications will be essential to the take-off of NFC services on mobile phones," says Philippe Vallée, EVP, telecom, Gemalto.