European Market
European Market

JCB to Trial NFC in Netherlands

JCB, the Japan-based payment card company, says it will trial a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based mobile-phone payment service in Amsterdam beginning this autumn, according to an online article. The company says it is conducting the pilot because it sees payment applications on mobile handsets as a way to convert small-value transactions to its card scheme. Seven other companies are involved in the pilot, providing chip, personalization services, payment terminals, the phones and transaction processing.

New Sharp 3G Handsets for Europe

Sharp Corp. said Friday that it will start selling later this month in Europe two new 3G models specifically designed for that market. The Osaka-based consumer electronics maker, known for its “Aquos” brand LCD TVs, will supply the new mobile phone handsets to Vodafone Group Plc, a Sharp spokesman said. He declined to comment on the price tag, which will reportedly be set in the EUR150 to EUR200 range, on par with similar cellphones sold in Europe.

MTS Orders NEC i-mode Handsets

The largest mobile operator in Russia, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), has signed an agreement to buy 40,000 mobile handsets from NEC Infocommunications, a subsidiary of Japan’s NEC. The handsets will be delivered by July, according to a press release by NEC Infocommunications, without disclosing the financial details of the deal. Prime-Tass reports that NEC will supply six models of handsets – N412i, N343i, N411i, which all support i-mode function, and e121, e1101 and e540.

Japan Good Design Awards in Milan

Good Design Award 50 Years is an exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Japan’s foremost design awards, the Good Design Awards (also called the G-Mark system). Besides celebrating a half-century of Good Design Awards history, this exhibition at Triennale di Milano introduces the design efforts of twenty longtime participants, focusing on their award-winning products. Organized by the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO), the event runs from April 5th – 10th.

Bouygues Buys NEC Video Platform

NEC Corporation announced that NEC, via its subsidiary NEC France received an order for a video streaming solution from Bouygues Telecom in France. The video streaming platform developed by NEC, which consists of a set of servers and integrated software based on PacketVideo Network Solutions technology, enables Bouygues Telecom customers to watch live TV and a smooth and speedy access to Video-on-Demand on i-mode enabled EDGE Handsets.

NEC & WIND Collaborate on Assisted GPS Commercial Trials

NEC Corporation today announced that it has been collaborating on joint field trials for SUPL-based Assisted GPS location services with WIND, Italy’s leading mobile operator. Following two trials in May and September last year, the companies are please to announce the successful attainment of the high levels of performance and accuracy, required to offer the next generation of location based services.

Bandai Brings Tamagotchi Mobile to EU

Bandai Networks Japan is collaborating with Living Mobile Germany, a European developer and marketer of mobile-phone games, to offer a mobile-phone version of “Tamagotchi” for telecom providers throughout Europe. Bandai created a global craze when it released the hit portable LCD game in 1996, selling 40 million units worldwide. In 2004, the “Tamagotchi Connection” series was released, and has already sold over 15 million units worldwide, the mobile-phone version will be available across Europe beginning in December 2005, according to the company.

NTT DoCoMo Pulls Out of KPN

NTT DoCoMo announced today it has transferred its interest in Dutch telecommunications company KPN Mobile N.V. (KPNM) to KPNM’s corporate parent, Koninklijke KPN N.V. (KPN), while continuing the licensing of its i-mode® technology to KPNM.

O2 Launching i-mode Today

The Guardian has posted a short article saying that “Mobile phone company O2 will today announce the long-awaited launch of its Internet service, i-mode, with content partners including the BBC, BSkyB and online bank Egg.” Of course, WWJ has been covering this story since the first rumor in mid-November 2004 and the official announcement from the companies involved later that same month.

Update: It’s Official as of 19:30 JST