Mobile operator Everything Everywhere (EE) has partnered with transport company Stagecoach to trial mobile contactless transport ticketing.
According to a statement from the new partnership, the trial is the first government-standard commercial deployment of mobile transport ticketing and could lead to a nationwide rollout across select bus and rail services in 2013.
The trial is already under way on the Stagecoach bus network in Cambridgeshire, where EE has provided each customer with a near-field communications (NFC) handset.
EEs NFC-enabled service, which it calls Quick Tap, features an app to make the handsets compatible with the local bus network's smartcard readers. It enables users to receive, store and validate their bus tickets using their phones.
The trial uses the Department for Transport's Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation (ITSO) smart ticketing technology, and the mobile operator will look to monitor the levels of customer convenience along with operational and technical efficiencies.
"Smartphones are playing an increasingly important role in helping people to manage their busy lifestyles and are already used across many areas of life. We believe this technology can also make public transport easier and more convenient to use," said Stagecoach Group's finance director, Martin Griffiths.
"Once this trial is complete, we will carry out a review of the findings and assess the potential to expand the scheme further for our passengers," he added.
In March, the Department for Transport ploughed an additional £15m for smart ticketing and bus payments into local authorities. It said that it wanted the infrastructure in place to enable most public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by December 2014.