The mobile network operator is to launch commercial services in 2013 and is beginning with a pilot phase in Milan this month that will see customers being able to make payments for goods and services with an NFC version of its existing Smart Pass prepaid card.
Vodafone Italia has announced it will begin commercial NFC mobile payments services in 2013, following a pilot phase which will begin in mid-October in the city of Milan.
Vodafone's NFC service will initially see its existing prepaid Smart Pass card being made available in NFC format to customers. Vodafone then plans to partner "with all the major banks to develop an open ecosystem".
The new Smart Pass NFC has been developed by Vodafone Italia in collaboration with Mastercard. Customers will be able to use their NFC phones to make payments at any of the 10,000 MasterCard PayPass terminals currently available in Italy. By the end of 2013, that number will increase to 150,000 points of sale, says Vodafone.
Since its launch in January 2012, 100,000 customers have signed up for the Smart Pass prepaid card, the carrier adds.
"This is a decisive step in the world of mobile payments," says the company. "With these new services, Vodafone will be able to offer its customers more innovative and differentiated services."