Trials will take place during the second half of 2009 with a commercial launch due in early 2010.
Telecom Italia and ATM, Milan's municipal transport company, have signed a partnership agreement that will allow customers to use NFC mobile phones to access the public transport network and purchase or validate tickets. After running trials in the second half of 2009, the service will be rolled out in early 2010.
A software application running on Telecom Italia SIM cards will enable users to access a menu with options to buy and top up season and multiple tickets, eliminating the need to go to a sales outlet to purchase travel tickets. The service will also provide real-time information on ticket availability and on season ticket expiry dates.
Passengers will be able to validate their ticket by simply holding their mobile phone close to a special reader or turnstile, even when the phone is turned off. Smart posters located in Milan's subway stations will also allow customers to download public transport service information to their phone. Ticket inspectors will be able to check ticket validity simply and immediately by moving their palmtop computer close to the customer's mobile handset.
Luca Tomassini, who heads business innovation at Telecom Italia, said: "This project, which Telecom Italia developed in partnership with ATM, confirms the company's commitment to developing and implementing innovative ICT services that help improve everyone's quality of life, while at the same time enhancing the competitiveness of Italian business."