Ticketing applications to boost m-commerce market

26 Aug 2004

Revenues from mobile ticketing applications will help to turn the global mobile commerce market into an US$88bn industry by 2009, according to a new report from Juniper Research. UK comms analyst Ovum concurs, saying that while the m-commerce market is still immature, there are opportunities for operators to launch new services to demonstrate the benefits of paying with a mobile phone.

The report, entitled Mobile commerce and Micropayment Strategies, says that mobile ticketing has the potential to be a huge application. While digital goods such as mobile entertainment (ringtones, games, wallpaper, gambling and so on) will continue to be the largest application for buying and selling via the mobile phone, ticket purchases will also emerge as a major application area by 2007, with revenues expected to total US$39bn by 2009.

According to the report, mobile entertainment transactions as a whole will be worth US$48m by 2009. Of this, retail point-of-sale mobile transactions will be slow and will be worth only US$299m by 2009. However, radio-frequency ID and infrared technologies are likely to have a major influence on the future development of the mobile phone as a payment device, but could be delayed by the slow development of global standards due to too many industry bodies concentrating on vested interests.

The report’s author, Marc Ambasna-Jones, says: “Mobile ticketing has the potential to be a huge application. The very nature of buying and selling tickets is high volume and low cost. This will make it easier for consumers to try it at least once because it is low risk. The aim is to make it more convenient than cash. There is a will among operators and merchants to make it happen but it will take time.”

Meanwhile Ovum says that the growth in the use of mobile phones as payment mechanisms should lead to an “early growth phase” between 2005 and 2006.

According to a statement from Ovum, the most attractive services include mobile top-up, non-wireless content, m-ticketing, mobile gambling and payments to mobile professionals. “After the launch phase of m-commerce in 2004, we should enter an early growth phase in 2005-2006,” Ovum says.

The trend has already hit Ireland. In recent weeks, Aircoach hopped on the m-ticketing craze with a web, SMS and voice ticketing system.

The system will enable Aircoach to reduce the number of tickets it produces every year by 40pc. Once a user’s credit card details have been verified a specially coded picture message is sent to their mobile phone. Passengers then simply open the picture message and hold the phone over a scanning machine located at the airport stop or on each coach.

The scanning technology was provided for Aircoach by Dublin-based mobile software firm Textus. Described as a ‘multi-modal mobile ticketing and redemption solution’, the M-Scan solution will allow Aircoach customers, for example, to buy tickets for the service by either instant voice response or over the internet.

By John Kennedy