NTT DoCoMo has teamed up with Urahara.org and TechFirm to launch a new Felica-enabled service called TownPocket in Harajuku. Customers with RFID chip handsets will have access to easy registration for coupon campaigns, contests and prizes at 153 participating stores in the youth-trendy downtown shopping district. The campaign is set to launch on 8 August and organizers are targeting a total of 300 participating locations in the area by the end of September. [Japanese Press Release]
With over 13 million so-called saifu keitai (wallet phones) already on the street from DoCoMo alone (both KDDI/au and Vodafone KK will soon offer Felica-enabled handsets as well), it’s clear that services related to the use of this technology — beyond the transfer of cash — will start gaining traction. For Felica, the tipping point may well be at hand; with Japan’s predictable handset replacement cycles, we might expect to see 20 million-plus Felica-enabled devices in use here by FY2005 year-end.