Singapore mobile operator StarHub will allow users of its SmartWallet service to collect their movie tickets with a tap of their NFC smartphone.
As customers have been slow to use mobile devices with NFC for regular, in-store payments, operators and phone makers around the world are looking at other ways to use NFC and make their mobile wallets more attractive. StarHub is by its own account the first in the world to offer an NFC-based movie ticketing service, which has been developed in collaboration with Shaw Theaters.
Starting last week, movie goers could print tickets by tapping their smartphone on a dedicated ticket collection reader at all Shaw box offices, after purchasing the movie tickets through SmartWallet. To attract users, Shaw will waive its standard booking fee for the first month the service is available.
To use the ticketing service, users will need a compatible smartphone, an NFC SIM card along with a subscription to SmartWallet and the latest version of the application installed on their phone.
StarHub will begin selling the NFC-equipped Galaxy Express from Samsung Electronics, which is pitched as a lower cost alternative for users who want NFC and LTE. The smartphone runs Android 4.1 on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, has a 4.5-inch screen with a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels and a 5-megapixel camera. Samsung has been a promoter of early NFC apps.
A growing number of smartphones and other consumer electronics devices with NFC will help accelerate the introduction of services like ticketing that take advantage of the technology. At least 285 million mobile and consumer electronics devices with NFC will ship in 2013, and next year the number of NFC-enabled devices in use will exceed half a billion, according to a recent report from ABI Research.