Russian mobile network operators MTS, MegaFon, Vimpelcom and Rostelecom have launched a joint NFC public transportation service in the city of Kazan, in partnership with Transport Card and the GSM Association (GSMA).
Subscribers can now pay for travel on the metro as well as on-ground public transportation with a tap of their mobile phone. To use the Mobile Ticket service, users need to purchase a starter kit containing a special NFC SIM card that supports the service.
Customers then deposit money into a dedicated prepaid Mobile Ticket account with their mobile network operator and funds are deducted from that account each time they tap their phone to a ticketing machine.
Subscribers with standard mobile phones can also use the service by obtaining an NFC antenna add-on available at any of the telcos' stores, either free or for a small fee. Connecting to the service is free and there is no monthly charge to use it.
When the balance in their Mobile Ticket accounts goes under 50 rubles (US$1.52), 100 rubles (US$3.04) is automatically transferred into the user's account from their mobile account with the carrier.
Marat Shakira, director of MTS in the Republic of Tatarstan, said: "Payment of public transport with a mobile phone [is] a great example of how modern technology can improve the quality of life of citizens.
"MTS already has positive experience of implementing such a project in Novosibirsk, which showed that instant, comfortable and safe payment services very quickly gain popularity and are becoming the main method of payment for travel for thousands of passengers.
"We expect the growth in popularity of mobile payments in the coming years and are actively working on implementing a number of NFC projects that will give a qualitative boost to customer service, not only in transportation, but also in retail, the vending business and other industries."