Public transport companies TPER Transport Passenger Emilia-Romagna, ANM Napoli, START Romagna, Telecom Italy and SIA Group have signed an agreement to develop and test a “mobile ticketing” platform enabling all citizens owning a latest generation Smartphone to purchase and validate tickets directly through their mobile phones.
This project begins according to the instructions provided by the Ministry of Transport contained in the Digital Agenda foreseeing the dissemination of electronic ticketing systems interoperable at national level.
The technology upon which this system is based on is called NFC (Near Field Communication) SIM-based and includes two key components: SIM phone of new generation allowing to safely “host” third-party applications and, in the specific case of transport, to load travel tickets once purchased, store them in a protected area from fraud attempts up to the time of actual use, as soon as they will be available for validation; a proximity" technology" that allows tickets authentication by simply approaching the phone to bus or metro ticket punching machines.
NFC technology is becoming more and more a standard in contactless transactions and estimates indicate that by 2015 more than 50% of sold smart phones will be equipped with this technology.
In particular, the "mobile ticketing" SIM-based NFC platform which will be created by Telecom Italy and SIA (through its subsidiary TSP) in cooperation with transport companies, will ensure full interoperability both at mobile operators and transport companies level according to GSMA standards (the international association of mobile operators) and UITP (International Public Transport Association). The platform will also be open to other public transport companies and other local mobile operators.
Italian Telecom will provide its know -how in the field of NFC, the SIM cards and transport application management platform within portions of the dedicated SIM (Security Domain). Such applications will also be integrated with the TIM wallet, the application "virtual wallet" of Telecom Italy that will allow to “transfer” and manage on smart phones all cards currently contained in the traditional wallets (transport, payment, loyalty, identification, etc. .).
The SIA Group infrastructure will allow users to buy, reload and use travel tickets directly through smart phones: this new modality is accompanied by the current tickets recharging system service available through ATMs and through the home-banking provided by different lending institutions. The SIA group has as first developed a hub for NFC services that already hosts some pilot projects based on contactless payments via mobile phone and is now also extending to transport sector, encouraging more and more the interoperability between mobile operators, banks, enterprises and other service providers.
Transport companies will guarantee integration with their own electronic ticketing systems as well as the supply of electronic tickets and the automatic endorsement on their own ticket machines and turnstiles NFC infrastructure.
This new ticketing modality will simplify customer travel ticket procurement process not only for being handy at purchase, being "everywhere" and "always" (always on), but also because it gives the opportunity to do so in different cities other than its own without necessarily knowing the local fare system or sales points location. Furthermore, this system provides full compatibility with already operative electronic ticketing systems as well as interoperability between transport companies and different geographical areas.
Future plans are to start with testing phase by the end of 2013.
Bologna, 14 May 2013