Wireless Watch Japan attended NTT DoCoMo’s December 15 press conference demonstrating the first phones to feature the Sony developed “Felica” peer-to-peer payment system. To debit the cash stored on the phone’s IC chip, all you do is swipe the handset in front of a reader; more cash can be downloaded via the i-mode network. The trial, using 2,500 each of the N504iC and SO504iC handsets (engineered by NEC and Sony) will run from today and until mid-2004, when full commercial service is expected to start. DoCoMo have lined up 27 e-payment service providers, including banks, convenience stores, TV broadcasters, game software publishers, and a retail ticketing outlet. There are already 17 million Japanese happily using Felica-based IC cards for train tickets and convenience store payments, many of whom have – surprise! – cell phones. We think the synergy and revenue potential of the two technologies is obvious – and so do DoCoMo’s accountants. Watch our first-on-the Web video report from Monday’s press event – and rethink your i-mode forecasts. Full Program Run-time 3:00
In the exclusive Wireless Watch Japan video report, NTT DoCoMo PR staff demonstrate how the system works, explain plans for the trial, and show how users can add cash to their handsets. Also shown are images of FeliCa compatible systems from provider partners, including point of sale payment sensors, canned beverage vending machines, ATM terminals, game kiosks, and physical access control systems. The program includes an interview with Norihiko Fujita, group leader in the M-Project Department at bitWallet, the Sony-DoCoMo joint venture developing FeliCa technology and services.