How Mobile Ticketing Works

Tickets are scanned at the gate.
Tickets are scanned at the gate.

by Dave Roos

Your favorite band is in town for its final reunion tour. The tickets are available online, but the concert is only two days away! In the past, if you wanted to get the tickets on time, you'd have to pay an exorbitant delivery fee, wait in a long line at will call or put your fate in the hands of a scalper.

Not any more. A new technology called mobile ticketing delivers tickets right to your cell phone. You don't even have to print them out. The tickets arrive as a text message with a special barcode. When you show up at the event, they'll scan the barcode, and you're in the door!

In this article, we'll run through the basics of how mobile ticketing works and explain some of the features and applications of this exciting new service.

Here's how to buy and use mobile tickets for an event:

1. Buy your ticket online and choose "mobile ticketing" as your delivery option.

2. Enter your cell phone number, mobile carrier and cell phone model.

3. After completing the transaction, you'll receive a text message on your phone. If your phone is MMS or WAP enabled (see "Can My Phone Receive Barcode Images?"), the message includes an image with a barcode. If your phone only accepts text messages, you'll receive a special alphanumeric code that can be manually entered at the event.

4. Do not delete the text message. Save it or leave it in your inbox. This message is now your ticket.

5. When you arrive at the event, open the text message and hand your phone to the ticket collectors at the gate. Since mobile ticketing is a relatively new technology, the venue might require that you enter through a specific gate or door that's equipped with the right barcode reader. If for some reason the barcode is unreadable or your phone doesn't accept images, they'll have to enter the barcode digits manually.

6. Some events will print out a paper ticket at the gate while others forgo the paper version entirely.

Now let's read more about the useful features and applications of mobile ticketing.