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Mobile ticketing, payments compete for leadership in mobile commerce: study

The number of mobile users expected to use a near field communications-enabled mobile phones as a metro rail or bus ticket is expected to grow from less than 1 percent today to 13 percent by 2016, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The report, Mobile Ticketing Evolution: NFC, Forecasts & Markets 2012-2016, shows that mobile users are beginning to adopt mobile tickets – either NFC, bar code or SMS delivered – as an integrated part of their mobile lifestyle. The report also suggests that, in terms of the number of regular users, mobile ticketing is vying with mobile payments for leadership in the mobile commerce race.

“It may be that mobile ticketing is becoming the route by which more mobile users first enter the mobile commerce world,” said David Snow, senior analyst for mobile commerce at Juniper Research, Britain.

“In the transportation arena the big news is the extent to which NFC ticketing is taking off, not just in metro/bus but now extending into national rail networks and commitment of the airline industry to implement NFC boarding passes with the same worldwide ubiquity as they have done for bar codes,” he said.

Intuitive customer experience
While NFC mobile tickets are still in the early stages, it holds significant promise across the entire mobile ticketing market, including tickets for airline, road or rail transport and sporting or entertainment events, according to Juniper Research. The report covers mobile users in the United States and Western Europe.

Other findings from the report include that worldwide mobile ticketing transactions are set to quadruple to 23 billion by 2016 and NFC mobile tickets will represent more than 50 percent of all mobile ticketing revenue by this time.

Metro ticketing is leading the way because an NFC ticket is a natural evolution from a contactless transport card and can leverage a carrier’s existing infrastructure. Additionally, because NFC enables simultaneous payment, the service can offer a compelling user experience.

The ability to tap an NFC phone containing a mobile ticket against an entrance gate for easy entry offers significant user appeal.

However, this means that mobile ticketing services must be thoroughly tested to ensure that tickets are processed quickly and consumers do not end up standing in line as a result of processing delays in mobile phones.

“NFC provides a customer ticketing experience, which is more intuitive and elegant than scanning a bar code and has the added advantage of a two-way communication, which can be exploited for value-added services,” Mr. Snow said.

“This is not to say that bar codes or SMS tickets will disappear, they have their own advantages in many situations today and will continue to be used over our forecast period,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York