Telecom Italia: NFC cell phone payments trial starting in Milan

10/22/2012 - 05:15 PM

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From today, people can use a smartphone to pay for public transport tickets, buy things in stores and access a range of interactive information

Cellphones can now be used as “virtual tickets” on public transport, to buy things in retail outlets, pay for taxis, get information on art and architecture, and interact with smart advertising posters. Telecom Italia confirms its position as a leader in the development of NFC (Near Field Communications), a technology that enables mobile phones to make electronic payments. Working with a number of major partners, Telecom Italia is launching a pilot series of ventures in Milan to demonstrate that proximity services are already a reality today.

To mark the GSMA’s NFC & Mobile Money Summit in Milan (which runs until 25 October), more than one thousand pilot users can try out the new NFC services using their smartphones as they go about their daily activities.

Mobile phones can be used to pay for bus, tram, metro and train tickets, make purchases using a credit card registered on the phone’s SIM at around a thousand retail outlets around town and, in partnership with trade associations Confcommercio, Confartigianato and Confesercenti, redeem coupons and discount vouchers. Advanced NFC-based tourist services include an interactive visit to the Leonardo da Vinci machines pavilion at the Museum of Science and Technology, and experiences at places of cultural interest in and around Milan by interacting with tourist information signage.

The hallmark feature of this Telecom Italia project – developed under the auspices of the GSMA – is that the SIM card functions as the heart of the whole system, guaranteeing security and privacy, managing service credentials (such as credit card payments) and offering the convenience of moving credentials from one phone to another simply by transferring the SIM card and carrying over all associated services.
The Fiera di Milano Summit exhibition area will be showcasing leading-edge service prototypes of this technology, including a car whose doors are operated remotely by NFC telephone (a partnership between Telecom Italia and the Fiat Research Centre), totems attached to bike sharing stations, and automatic distributors for advanced smart city services.

Winners of the “Call4ideas” contest, held by the Milan Polytechnic School of Management in partnership with Telecom Italia, will be announced at the Milan NFC & Mobile Money Summit. The contest was run to stimulate ideas and solutions associated with NFC-enabled mobile services and their mass adoption. Entries were received from students, enterprises and innovation-led start-ups.

To broaden enterprise participation in the contest, Telecom Italia invited Sophia Antipolis’s SCS Cluster, a French leader in near field technology that is acknowledged worldwide as a top “SIM–based” contactless product and solution development centre. This partnership enriched contest entries with a cluster of some ten French companies that are active leaders in France through a number of NFC-based services, along with an American company.

“Telecom Italia has proven that SIM-based NFC services are already a reality, and that they are extremely simple and secure for customers to use,” says Oscar Cicchetti, Head of Strategy at Telecom Italia. Telecom Italia’s commitment and agreements with major partners and aggregators of this ecosystem, including Intesa Sanpaolo, ATM, Trenord, Kinetic and Logital, ensure that NFC services will soon be available to all of our clients, from individuals to major corporations and government departments.”

With this trial, Telecom Italia confirms its role as a technological enabler and mass-market application aggregator. The company is pressing ahead with a series of initiatives to stimulate the ecosystem in terms of the breadth of applications available to users, timescale and roadmap.

Milan, 22 October 2012