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Telecom Italia launches Multiapplication NFC Trial

Telecom Italia has launched a multiapplication NFC trial, enabling 1,000 users to make retail payments, to pay for bus, tram, metro and train tickets and taxi fares and redeem coupons and discount vouchers.

The trial, which launched Monday in Milan, also enables users to tap NFC tags for information discovery at museums and other cultural points of interest in the city.

The telco, which stores the secure applications on SIM cards, timed the announcement of the trial to coincide with the GSM Association's NFC & Mobile Money Summit, held this week in Milan. Franco Bernabè, Telecom Italia’s chairman and CEO and current chairman of the GSMA, spoke at the event.

The telco said it is working with Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Milan-area transit authority Azienda Trasporti Milanesi, as well as merchant groups to offer coupons and discount vouchers.

Telecom Italia has held NFC trials in the past with the bank and transit agency and is gearing up for an NFC commercial launch.

Intesa has said it is planning a small commercial NFC launch centered in Milan in coming months, putting either MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave on SIM cards that will run in the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy mini 2 Android NFC phones. The bank did not say which operator it is working with, but it seems likely to be Telecom Italia.

The telco’s chief rival, Vodafone Italia, said it would commercially launch NFC next year, including putting its own co-branded prepaid payment application supporting PayPass on its SIMs.

Telecom Italia said participants in its trial will be able to tap to pay with a mobile credit card at about 1,000 retail outlets in Milan.

Three retail and business trade associations are also participating in the pilot, enabling users to redeem coupons and discount vouchers.

In addition, users will be able to tap smart posters or other displays embedded with NFC tags to receive information at the Leonardo da Vinci machines pavilion at the Museum of Science and Technology and at other tourist or cultural sites. 

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