Vodafone Italia has become the latest European carrier to begin a mobile payments trial, kicking off in Milan ahead of a planned nationwide roll-out in 2013.
The Italian arm of Vodafone is collaborating with MasterCard on the project, which will entail the production of NFC Sim cards bearing the telco's Smart Pass pre-paid product.
Launched in January 2012, Vodafone claims some 100,000 customers for the Smart Pass card, which can be used to make regular and contactless payments at the cash register as well as for online shopping.
Billed by Vodafone as "a decisive step" in Italian mobile payments, the initial trials will take place in Milan, where MasterCard has a sizeable estate of PayPass terminals installed. The card scheme claims to have 10,000 contactless touchpoints available across Italy, with plans to increase the number to 150,000 tills by the end of 2013.
In February, Banca Intesa Sanpaolo announced plans to pilot small-scale internal trials of contactless mobile payments in Milan and Turin in partnership with wireless operator Nòverca. The bank provided the 600 pilot participants - who also include employees of the universities of Milan and Turin - with Samsung Wave S5780 smartphones for the duration of the project.