Half a billion to use mobile ticketing in three years’ time

More than half a billion people worlwide will be using their smartphones as travel tickets by 2015, says a new report – assuming that any of us have jobs at all by then, that is.

According to analyst Juniper Research, the number is set to increase by over five times in the next four years.

The bulk of the growth, says Juniper, will derive from the technology spreading out of its existing strongholds of Japan and some European countries, and into larger markets.

Outside Japan, systems in operation typically use SMS or bar codes.But while SMS ticketing has been in operation for several years in large cities in Scandinavia and Central & Eastern Europe such as Stockholm and Prague, Juniper believes that the real growth will come through Near Field Communications (NFC).

“Whether by expansion of SMS and bar code delivery or by NFC, at Juniper we see convenience and choice for users as key advantages of mobile ticketing,” says report author Howard Wilcox.

“It will be 2013 before large numbers of NFC enabled devices are in peoples’ pockets and our new report forecasts the impact on transaction volumes.”

Western Europe and the Far East and China will be the leading

transport mobile ticketing regions by volume in 2015, says the report. New applications that could take off include train and air travel, with air travel driven by mobile-delivered barcoded boarding passes.

However, the report warns that one major danger will be the quality of experience for the user, with bar code reading issues a particular pitfall.

Mobile Ticketing for Transport Markets: Airlines, Rail, Metro & Bus 2011-2015 is available here.