The worldwide market for contactless technology in transportation ticketing and contactless payments grew more than 15 percent in 2007. And the market now stands at a value of more than $200 million but will reach more than $820 million by 2013, according to the latest market analysis from ABI Research.

Positive growth in contactless card rollouts took place during the last half of 2007, while the uptake of contactless capabilities in mobile handsets - called NFC (Near Field Communication) - continued to be stymied by difficulties in bringing the technology to the consumer market. Accordingly, NFC handsets did not ship in any volume toward the end of 2007 and the market will remain limited for the first half of 2008.

ABI says it now believes there will be longer than anticipated delays to NFC deployments and has again adjusted its latest quarter and next annual figures accordingly: the previous forecasts for total NFC device shipments stood at 1.1 million for 2007, and 9.81 million for 2008. The revised forecast stands at 0.65 million and 6.52 million respectively. However, says principal analyst Jon Collins, "Given the strength and interest among carriers around the world for NFC, our long-term forecasts remain unchanged."

ABI says that NFC rollout will be supported by the widespread adoption of contactless transportation and payment systems. Last year saw contactless transportation making greater inroads into public transport systems around the world, with some notable switches to contactless single use ticketing too.

However, the bulk of the growth of contactless demand over the next five years will stem from the uptake of contactless payments from cards and mobile handsets, says ABI. Europe took its first real steps toward contactless payment adoption in 2007. The initial UK contactless rollout in London that began in the second half of the year will prove a bellwether for the technology in Europe, especially given the scale of the initial rollout and the integration of contactless with the established EMV smartcard payment system.

Zi Corporation, a provider of intelligent interface solutions, has today announced a new license agreement for its predictive text products, eZiText and eZiType with Norway-based Trolltech ASA.

Zi Corporation's eZiText and eZiType have been integrated on Qtopia Phone Edition, an application platform and user interface for Linux-based devices, to offer advanced text entry for Chinese and alphabetic languages. Trolltech has integrated eZiText and eZiType as part of the Qtopia Greensuite initiative, which offers pre-integrated market leading partner components on top of Qtopia Phone Edition.

Qtopia Phone Edition is developed by Trolltech for device manufacturers that wish to enable faster handset development and commercial deployment.

eZiText and eZiType will be the integrated text input tools available as part of the Qtopia Greensuite initiative and includes features such as word completion, dual language prediction and auto-correction.  Zi will receive royalties for every handset enabled with eZiText and eZiType that is sold through Trolltech's channels.

This latest integration comes less than a year after Trolltech announced eZiText on its Qtopia Greenphone project, demonstrating how quickly users can draft text messages, thereby improving device usability. 

Haavard Nord, Trolltech CEO, commented, "With the Qtopia Greensuite initiative, we are looking to offer device manufacturers the most comprehensive application platform for efficiently creating Linux-based devices. In order to do so, we need to work with industry-leading partners.  Zi has shown through its work with us on the Greenphone last year that it offers a complete solution that is in high demand, so we are extremely pleased to feature its software."

"Following the success of eZiText and Decuma on the Greenphone, we are delighted that Trolltech has chosen to take our solution to the next level and integrate it onto its UI platform," said Milos Djokovic, President and CEO of Zi Corporation.  "The Qtopia Greensuite initiative provides an all-in-one solution for handset integration, which helps accelerate the development process.  With the addition of eZiType, Linux developers will have access to exceptional predictive text software."

ABI Research has predicted that Linux will power about 31 percent of all Smartphones sold in 2012, and by then will have shipped in 331 million devices.  It also forecasts 75 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for Linux in Smartphones through 2012, making it the fastest-growing OS in the sector.

At the end of 2006, it was reported that several million Qtopia-based devices have shipped to date, and Qtopia has become the de-facto standard for Linux handset makers with 120 manufacturers building Qtopia devices - 40 of which are mobile phones.

Pontis, the creator of the 'world's first' Marketing Delivery Platform for Communication Service Providers, has today announced that it will be demonstrating the latest version of its flagship solution at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress in February.

Pontis created the Marketing Delivery Platform to enable communication service providers to target customers with personalised marketing offers ‘on the fly'.  Using this system operators are able to communicate with, and target customers individually, based on their profiles, behaviour and real time usage. For example, the solution can be used by operators to re-engage dormant users, promote a handset upgrade or deliver personalised bundles based on their lifestyle, characteristics and interests.

The solution also enables the long term management of multiple marketing offers over an extended period of time and, by automating the marketing and sales processes across multiple platforms and channels, the Pontis system also dramatically reduces the complexity and time-to-market for launching new offers.

Following recent updates, the solution also now features an infrastructure for enhanced segmentation, KPI and usage analysis. This is the foundation for its new approach for "goal-based planning" capabilities, enabling marketers to define specific business objectives such as ‘expand usage' or ‘reduce churn'.

Pontis' solution has already been successfully deployed with leading operators including Nextel, 3 and, most recently, Brasil Telecom and the new version has been developed based on feedback from customers. 

Guy Talmi Senior Marketing Director at Pontis comments: "In the saturated mobile space, operators need to work harder than ever at reducing churn and improving ARPU. The mass-marketing approach in which services and bundles of products are offered with limited flexibility in terms of customisation, are failing to ignite interest from customers. Effective, targeted offerings which are communicated at the right time and through the right channels are changing all this - with compelling results."

Pontis will be exhibiting the Marketing Delivery Platform at Stand 2D30 in Hall 2 at the Mobile World Congress from 11-14 February in Barcelona.

O2 UK has today announced that it has appointed Matt Ward as Head of Music for O2 UK. Matt joins O2 from Mobix Interactive, where he was head of the Consumer Proposition team responsible for the creation, development and management of consumer-focused mobile live services and will be responsible for music strategy, music services and the continued management of all the music customer propositions for O2 UK.

Prior to his time at Mobix, Ward developed 7 years music industry experience rising to Business and Digital Manager for Kickin Music, one of the longest running successful independent labels in the UK. He was responsible for covering all online and mobile deals for Kickin as well as day to day label management. Matt also has experience in record label licensing and compliance, having worked as Music Licensing Consultant for MCPS-PRS.

Grahame Riddell, Head of Content, O2 UK comments: "Having successfully established ourselves in the digital music space and with the integration of music services into sponsorship properties such as The O2 and O2 Wireless Festival, Matt's appointment will further strengthen the delivery of new and engaging content for our customers. Matt joins O2 with a strong and vibrant background in both mobile content development and the wider music industry. We are extremely excited about having Matt on board and are confident he will ensure O2 customers continue to have access to the latest in digital music on the mobile."

On joining O2, Ward said: "This move to head up music at O2 presents a diverse and exciting challenge within the ever-evolving digital music space where O2 are already strongly positioned."

According to a new survey published today by GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association, 68 HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks commercially launched during 2007, representing annual growth of 69%. GSA's latest HSDPA Operator Commitments survey is said to confirm there are 166 commercial HSDPA networks in 75 countries. HSDPA-enabled mobile broadband services extended to 24 new countries during the year. A further 38 networks are committed to HSDPA rollout, to reach a total of 204 HSDPA Operator commitments in 89 countries.

HSDPA is now widely commercially available throughout the APAC region (35 networks), Western Europe (61 networks), Eastern Europe (34 networks), Middle East and Africa (20 networks) and the Americas and Caribbean (16 networks).

HSDPA is the first evolution of 3G/WCDMA, a 3GPP standard delivering advanced mobile multimedia services with typical user throughputs of 800 kbps to 3.0 Mbps, depending on individual networks and device capabilities. WCDMA is deployed in 70% of all commercial 3G networks globally, and almost all have evolved to HSPA as the de-facto system of choice for delivering mobile broadband services.

This latest survey highlights the key trend how networks are quickly evolving to fast mobile broadband speeds. 103 commercial HSDPA networks i.e.62% of launched networks, support downlink data speeds of 3.6 Mbps peak or higher, including 35 networks which support 7.2 Mbps peak.

An evolution is also taking place in uplink data speeds. 51 operators have committed to HSUPA - High Speed Uplink Packet Access, and 26 networks have commercially launched HSUPA service in 22 countries. All the HSUPA launches took place during 2007, with 24 launches occurring in the past 6 months.

Almost 60% of HSPA operators combine with GSM/EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience.

WCDMA and HSPA are part of the evolutionary roadmap for GSM and the natural evolution path followed by GSM network operators worldwide. GSA calculates there are over 1.026 billion GSM, EDGE and WCDMA-HSPA subscribers in commercial HSPA-enabled networks worldwide.

HSPA - Key Facts:

* 204 HSDPA Operator commitments in 89 countries/territories
* 166 commercial HSDPA launches in 75 countries; 69% annual growth
* Over 62% of commercial HSDPA networks have launched with downlink capability of 3.6 Mbps peak or higher data speeds
* 114 HSDPA networks evolving to 3.6 Mbps peak fast broadband speed or higher, of which 103 networks supporting 3.6 Mbps peak or higher downlink speeds have commercially launched in 52 countries
* 35 HSDPA networks supporting 7.2 Mbps peak or higher have commercially launched in 24 countries
* 51 operators have committed to HSUPA with 26 HSUPA networks today commercially launched in 22 countries
* 122 of 204 HSDPA networks (59.8%) combine with GSM/EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience
* 94 of 166 commercially launched HSDPA networks (56.6%) have also commercially launched EDGE
* Over 1.026 billion GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPA subscribers in commercial HSPA-enabled networks

HSDPA is commercially available on 166 networks in the following
countries/territories:
* Americas: Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, USA
* APAC: Australia, Cambodia, HK, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, NZ, Philippines, Singapore, S. Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan
* Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech R, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, IoM, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak R, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, UK (HSDPA is launched in 26 of the 27 countries comprising the European Union)
* MEA: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda

 

Mobile operator 3 UK has announced an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) wholesale contract with telecoms distributor Gamma Telecom. Under the deal, Gamma Telecom will offer an own-branded business mobile voice and data service using the 3 network.The service will be targeted at small to medium-sized businesses (SME) and will be taken to market via Gamma's channel of more than 300 independent resellers.

The Gamma Telecom mobile service will make use of 3's voice and data network, offering SMEs not only great value for money but also access to mobile broadband through 3's nationwide 3G and HSDPA 'Turbo' data network.

Subscribers will be able to access services such as mobile internet and mobile email on a selection of leading-edge 3G business handsets. The Gamma own-brand business mobile service will complement  3's existing direct small business offer and represents a new route into the high-margin SME market for the operator.

Gamma Telecom is one of the UK's largest providers of voice services and voice applications, switching in excess of 8 billion minutes per annum and supplying service via its channel partners to over 100,000 UK businesses and over 400,000 residential customers.

Marc Allera, Sales Director, 3, said: "This is 3's first wholesale agreement and is a validation of the quality and reliability of the 3 network. Our ability to offer great coverage combined with high speed data services marks us out as the business network of choice."

Bob Falconer, CEO, Gamma Telecom, said: "We looked at all the alternatives when it came to choosing a wholesale mobile partner and 3 was the clear choice in terms of quality, reliability and range of services.  Working with 3 we can deliver our partners a powerful and competitively priced mobile voice and data proposition."

Acision, the messaging and charging company, today announced that, according to its figures, global SMS traffic over the 2007/2008 New Year period increased by 30 per cent compared to the same period last year. Around the world, phone users sent 43 billion text messages to wish their loved ones a happy New Year - of which more than 23 billion were processed through Acision's systems.

Growth was strong in both mature and emerging markets - in Portugal, SMS traffic almost tripled across the festive period compared to last year and Dutch operator KPN saw its messaging traffic double on New Years Eve.

However, claims Acision, the most astounding growth figures are said to have come from developing markets, where India's 220 million mobile subscribers sent over a billion text messages - a 300 per cent increase to their day to day traffic levels. The Philippines retained its title as the text messaging capital of the world - sending a remarkable 1.39 billion text messages from a subscriber base of just 50 million.

Steven van Zanen, Head of Messaging Futures, Acision said: "Messaging represents a significant slice of mobile operator revenues, and events like New Years Eve demonstrate how critical it is for operators to ensure a reliable and speedy service. One of our operator customers' infrastructure operated under peaks of 19,000 messages sent per second without congestion or delay. The New Year figures are eagerly anticipated each year and this year's record traffic levels again do not disappoint."

Wapple says it has launched a quick and easy way for companies to get a mobile advertising campaign up and running based on its Wapple Canvas web-based tools for creating mobile web sites. The new Wapple Advert Package is said to provide all the tools, templates, tips and advice needed to create and publish a fully interactive mobile advertising site. Ads are automatically optimised and delivered to thousands of different mobile phones and devices, either as a stand alone ad or part of an integrated, cross-media campaign.

The Wapple Advert Package includes access to a wide range of templates that walk users through the process of creating a successful mobile ad, including essential calls to action such as 'click throughs', 'click to call' or 'purchase now' links, for example. But it also provides the creative freedom to run with new ideas with the help of easy to use design and build tools and Wapple's Top Ten Tips for mobile advertising. The package also allows companies to deliver downloadable content as part of the promotion.

"Mobile advertising is set to revolutionise the way companies interact and communicate with their target audience, but it is still a new media and a proper understanding of mobile is needed to get it right," says Anne Thomas, business development director at Wapple.  "With our new Wapple Advert Package, we are not just giving people the ability to create and publish a mobile advertising site; we are giving them everything they need to do it successfully. We provide the knowledge and expertise to take advantage of the unique attributes of mobile, as well as advice on driving traffic to the ad and integrating mobile advertising into existing digital, print and broadcast campaigns."

Antenna Hungária, a major Hungarian TV and radio network operator, T-Mobile Hungary and Vodafone Hungary are conducting a DVB-H based mobile television test. The test was first launched in spring 2007 by Antenna Hungária and T-Mobile. The current test is being carried out on a Nokia Siemens Networks platform, with Nokia handsets.

Under the agreement between the two mobile companies (T-Mobile and Vodafone), Nokia Siemens Networks and Antenna Hungária, the mobile television test, comprising a technical test and a common ‘friendly user' test, is to continue until the end of January 2008.

In the technical part of the DVB-H-based mobile television test, the equipment of the platform provided by Nokia Siemens Networks is connected to the broadcasting network of Antenna Hungária and the networks of the mobile operators involved in the project.

Two handset models, Nokia N92 and Nokia N77 devices, are used in the tests, suitable for the reception of programs approved by the National Radio and Television Commission (ORTT) and the content providers. In comparison with an earlier test, more programs are available this time, altogether 11 television channels, including news, sports and music channels. In addition to television programs, interactive services can also be tested in the trial.

In the "friendly user test" to follow the technical test, the selected 200 to 300 users can watch the television content, whereas in the meantime operators obtain valuable information on actual demands, expected consumption patterns and coverage conditions. The data obtained will help fine-tune the business model and identify the commercial services to be launched in the future.

Through the test, Antenna Hungária intends to improve the technological solutions which will enable it to provide a DVB-H-based mobile tv network for Hungarian mobile operators.

AdaptiveMobile, the security provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, has today urged mobile operators to be prudent when planning how advertisers use their network this year, as the threat of unparalleled customer churn looms.

"All the signs point to this year being a record-breaking year from a revenue perspective for mobile operators globally," commented Lorcan Burke, CEO, AdaptiveMobile. "Messaging volumes are reaching an all-time high, believed to be over 50 billion in 2007 in the UK alone. Investment is also bullish in emerging markets, such as the recent news that a group of carriers including MTN, Orange and Vodacom are committing more than £25billion into the Sub-Saharan region.
 
"The continued development of next generation networks and the ongoing evolution of multimedia handsets such as Apple's hugely popular iPhone will also increase subscribers' purchase of high-value data services. Meanwhile, the potentially lucrative mobile music market appears to be hotting up too, with the likes of Vodafone and Nokia having announced ambitious investments in 2007.
 
"However, boom could well become bust this year for operators that carelessly expose their customers to mobile advertising, as businesses become more aware of the medium's potential. A 2007 Pontis survey revealed that the mobile network is a powerful channel for advertising, with 11% of mobile user respondents stating they would buy products as a result of receiving an offer from their operator - a much better return rate than most other advertising and direct marketing formats.
 
"But that same survey also found that 70% found mobile marketing campaigns totally irrelevant to them, whilst two thirds are fed up with mobile phone spam - and this is where the danger lies: disgruntled customers switching to a mobile provider with a more suitable mobile advertising strategy.
 
"Several analysts have commented on the fact that mobile operators are still not able to sufficiently segment and understand their customer base. Sending the right content to the right people is key for the success of any marketing campaign, and if mobile operators want to sign-up the big brands that offer big money for mobile advertising, they need to understand and manage customer preferences and permissions. Otherwise both their bottom line and brand will suffer significantly this year."

Sepura has been named one of three approved suppliers to the Dutch police and certain fire, ambulance and customs services by vtsPN, the Police's information communication technology organisation, following an open European Tender Process.
 
The national framework contract has been awarded by vtsPN to enable Dutch users to replace existing radios that are nearing the end of their operational life. Up to 80,000 radios will be replaced over a three-year period on C2000, the Dutch national emergency services network.
 
Sepura is the only radio manufacturer that has contracted directly with vtsPN.
 
In a separate sales win, Zuid Limburg regional ambulance service (also a user of the C2000 network) has replaced its existing equipment with Sepura TETRA radios.
 
Richard Redgrave, Regional Sales Director for Sepura, who led the bids to win both contracts, said: "These successes are significant milestones for us in the Netherlands. The Dutch market is very important to us over the coming years as we play a lead role in the replacement of the entire C2000 user base. We are excited to be working directly with vtsPN and its various end-user organisations, and have been hugely impressed with vtsPN's organisation and the role it will play in managing this project.

"vtsPN's objective was to build a short, high-quality supply chain, adopting a partnership approach with its selected suppliers. We are very pleased that vtsPN and its C2000 end users consider Sepura's products and services capabilities to be such a close match to its requirements."

In the separate sales win at Zuid Limburg, the ambulance service decided to move to Sepura after their original TETRA radios had reached the end of their serviceable life. This was five years after it was the first ambulance service, along with Amsterdam, to use the Dutch public safety radio network.
 
Sepura will also supply Radio Manager, the innovative fleet management solution that saves substantial ongoing support costs. An extended warranty on the radios, which includes repairs and software upgrades, provides the lowest cost of ownership over a projected five-year equipment life cycle.
 
The contract is said to emphasise Sepura's popularity among ambulance services, with a 50 per cent share of the market in the Netherlands and sole supplier to all the UK ambulance trusts.

Mobile subscriptions which offer unlimited music downloads on a rental basis are expected to surge in popularity and will provide the majority of mobile revenues derived from original recordings, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

According to the report, the market for subscription-based music rental services will reach $3.3 billion by 2012, eclipsing the market for paid-for original recordings.

Report author Dr. Windsor Holden, said: "Music rental services such as those offered by Omnifone are incredibly ´sticky,´ in that once consumers have taken the time and effort to build up an extensive playlist, they will be increasingly reluctant to unsubscribe from that service and from the operator, thereby providing a significant boost to ARPU levels."

However, the report also states that as 3G services are rolled out in emerging markets, then full-track download sales will mushroom, with the volume of downloads in the Indian sub-continent alone rising from less than 2 million in 2007 to nearly 480 million in 2012.

"India and China represent a tremendous opportunity for the mobile music industry," said Holden. "Both have experienced quite remarkable levels of ringtone and ring-back tone adoption, and as more full-track services are deployed, then it is likely that the mobile handset will become the most popular personal music player in these and other emerging markets."

 Other findings from the Juniper report include:

--  The global market for end-user generated mobile music revenues will rise from $8.9 billion in 2007 to nearly $17.6 billion in 2012
--  Total revenues from original recordings delivered to the handset (on both a paid-for and rental basis) will increase from  $960 million in 2007 to $6.1 billion in 2012
--  Revenues from ringtones/realtones will peak in 2010, subsequently declining as a result of competitive pricing allied to a steady migration to ad-funded and/or self-created ringtones
--  The report praises the iPhone´s user interface, but argues that the company´s decision to eschew 3G in favour of a greater battery life was incorrect

Juniper Research says it assesses the current and future status of mobile music services based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in the growing mobile music services industry.

Ericsson has signed a contract with Israeli mobile operator Cellcom Israel to provide an end-to-end mobile TV and video solution to enable Cellcom Israel's subscribers to access live TV channels and video-on-demand (VoD) content.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be the sole supplier of a mobile TV platform supporting rich media clients, a content management system and support systems for operation and customer care units. Rollout has started in December 2007, with commercial launch due during 2008.

Ericsson's cutting edge mobile TV solution will provide users with a customized TV experience offering access to fast channel switching, an easy-to-use navigation menu and more advanced features.

Ericsson's Mobile TV and Video solution leverages the existing cellular network to allow operators to capitalize on existing network infrastructure investments. The flexible and scalable solution can also accommodate broadcast technologies such as Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service, as they become available.

Nahum Hai, Director of Advanced Services Department at Cellcom Israel,  says: "This move reaffirms Cellcom Israel's leading position in the Israeli market.  By partnering with Ericsson, Cellcom Israel can offer easy access to a personalized, world-class mobile TV experience."

Mats Bosrup, President and CEO of Ericsson Israel, says: "Mobile TV is going from strength to strength as operators expand and leverage their networks. Ericsson's mobile TV solution will enable Cellcom Israel to offer sophisticated new services while tapping into new revenue opportunities."

From 7 January 2008, bus passengers travelling with bus operator, Go North East will be the first in the country to be able to order and receive their bus tickets by mobile phone.

The service has been developed by Go North East in partnership  with international IT services company, Atos Origin and mobile ticketing specialists, Swiftpass.

Called  txt2go, passengers  will  be  able  to receive a digital ticket direct to  their mobile phone just minutes after ordering it by text. The phone  screen displaying the ticket information is then shown to the driver as the passenger gets on the bus.

The cashless, paperless ticket can be ordered any time, anywhere by sending a simple  text  to  60060  and is so fast tickets can even be bought while waiting for your bus to arrive.

Tickets  received  digitally  remove the need to carry cash, making it safe and  dependable  for passengers and improving security on buses by reducing the amount of money carried by the driver.

The new tickets are also very secure with each one locked to the handset it was  ordered  from  so  they cannot be transferred to another phone.  Coded information within the digital ticket will also reduce attempts at forgery.

To  use  txt2go, customers first set up an on-line account using Go North East¹s secure website.  Money is then added to the account using a debit or credit  card  and the cost of each txt2go ticket will then automatically be taken from the account.

The  account  can  be  kept topped up either through the online account, by text  to  the  txt2go  60060  number  or  the  account  can  be set up to automatically top up when funds reach a certain level.

When  txt2go  is introduced, customers will be able to buy single and day tickets  for  adults  and  children,  but more ticket choices and even more advanced  ticketing  could  be introduced if the scheme proves popular with passengers, including bar-code scanners on buses.

Martin  Harris,  Commercial  Director  with Go North East said, "This is an exciting step forward in making bus travel even more convenient and we want to  find out whether passengers feel comfortable with this method of buying tickets. As people come to rely more and more on communicating by mobile phone  and  computer,  it is the ideal way to offer tickets for bus travel. Buying  tickets  in advance speeds up the time it takes people to board our buses and helps us run a smooth, efficient service."

The technology implementation, led by Atos Origin, is the first UK roll-out of the Mobile Payment Solution developed by Atos Worldline, an Atos Origin company and major European player in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions, and the Swiftpass ticketing service. The solution allows Go North East to capitalise on the ubiquity of the mobile phone by providing an interface that turns the device into a secure, convenient and easy-to-use payment method.

Tony  Lacy,  Head of Bus and Rail at Atos Origin said, "We are delighted to see  Go North East embracing technology to improve the passenger experience and  their own operational  efficiency. Mobile  technology now offers a competitively  priced  alternative  to  paper  tickets,  whether  it be for travel, cinema, theatre or a night club."

Jeff  Berry, Managing Director of UK-based Swiftpass said, "The concept of sending  digital tickets to mobile phones is not new, however the high cost of  billing  through  mobile  phone  operators in the UK ­ up to 40% of the transaction ­ has been a significant barrier to it being adopted on a large scale.

"To make this available to  people requires partnership between forward thinking organisations  like  Go  North  East,  Atos Origin and Swiftpass. Together we can create a total end to end solution for the customer."