Tickets on mobile phones for rail, air and bus travel are set to explode over the next three years, according to a leading IT analyst.
Juniper Research predicts that by 2014, 15 billion tickets will be delivered via a mobile phone around the world. As well as transport tickets, this will also include cinema and sports tickets. Juniper predicts that around 2 billion mobile tickets will be issued this year.
The transportation sector leads mobile ticketing, particularly for airlines where "paperless boarding" using email or iPhone apps has experienced considerable growth in the past year. In December, US airline Continental became the first carrier to implement paperless boarding on a transatlantic flight from Frankfurt airport. Air Canada and American Airlines also offer apps with similar technology for North American flights, whilst Air France and KLM expanded its mobile boarding service to most European destinations last Autumn.
Juniper suggests that by 2014, Western Europe will have overtaken Asia as the most prolific user of mobile ticketing, although it believes that there is even more space for exploitation of the services to offer added convenience for consumers.
The integration of NFC "near field communication" devices (similar to technology currently used in public transport smartcards) to western mobile phones is expected to provide an additional boost to ticketing services.
"Although 15 billion sounds large, it is in fact it a small percentage of total tickets issued - there is plenty of scope for innovative solutions to penetrate this market," said report author Howard Wilcox. "Next steps will see more widespread purchasing on mobiles, as well as use of NFC tickets."