Hamburg city pushes mobile phone ticketing

Hamburg, one of Germany’s largest cities, is showing consumers how they can check into soccer games, museum exhibitions, musicals and more with their mobile phones as part of a two-day mobile phone ticketing initiative beginning Friday.

Soccer fans attending the Friday evening match between FC St. Pauli and Hertha BSC Amateure will be able to avoid long lines at ticket booths by displaying their mobile phones with a message containing a bar code, which is scanned at the gate. The same service will be available on Saturday to those attending the musical “Dance of the Vampire,” or live music performances in several bars in Hamburg’s famous Reeperbahn district.

Mobile Ticketing Days is an initiative of the City of Hamburg in collaboration with several technology partners, including T-Mobile International AG, Matrix Solutions GmbH and Teltix GmbH. The two-day program is being managed by Hamburg@work, a public-private organization involving the Hamburg city economic development agency and a group of local multimedia technology companies.

“Earlier this year, we conducted a survey of local business people and consumers and asked them what they view as the key technology trends in 2004 and 2005,” said a spokesman from Hamburg@work. “Many of them viewed mobile phone applications as an important trend. That’s what prompted this two-day mobile application event and others to follow next year.”

Matrix has developed a mobile ticketing system, called PicTicket. Customers can either purchase their ticket online by going to the PicTicket Web site or calling the automated PicTicket call center. They must provide both their mobile phone number and the type of phone they use.

Customers pay either by credit card or direct debit. Once payment is verified, the ticket is sent electronically to their handset as an Short Message Service (SMS) text, which contains an encrypted code.

The ticket is issued to one phone only, according to the spokesman. “So it can’t be copied or forwarded,” he said.

The Teltix service is similar except for the scanning option. Customers can call a number from a list to purchase tickets to different events. An SMS is sent to their phones, displaying information which they show at the gate. Before customers can purchase tickets, they must become registered users of the Mobile Wallet payment program, which is run by T-Mobile.

Teltix has also developed a mobile ticketing application for the public transit sector as well. Several German cities, including Bonn and Osnabr

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