Mobile FeliCa and Suica Merge

President Nakamura, NTT DoCoMo Inc., President Otsuka, JR East, President Ando, SonyEast Japan Railway Company (JR East), NTT DoCoMo and Sony today announced they will offer a new service combining DoCoMo’s Mobile FeliCa smart-card handset with JR East’s Suica card starting in January 2006. The “Mobile Suica” service will enable FeliCa-enabled i-mode handsets to be used as Suica cards to board JR trains and make purchases in station shops and kiosks. With the news, two services that started as competitors for ecash settlement-on-the-go appear to have buried the yamakatana. Train-riding, phone-using consumers will have little excuse not to use FeliCa now. The companies said a test of the service will begin March 2005 using pilot i-mode FeliCa handsets.

Survey of Japan's Wireless Market

Survey of Japan's Wireless MarketResearch house and consumer survey firm INFO PLANT recently held a seminar on the main themes and directions of Japan’s wireless market in 2004. INFO PLANT’s C-News editor-in-chief Tomoki Sakaino began with some interesting comparisons between the Korea and Japan markets before offering unique insights into the prospects for FOMA and FeliCa this year; he also reviewed studies into attitudes about DoCoMo’s new 900i-series 3G handsets and TV broadcast content for mobile devices. Full Program Run-time 19:28

FeliCa: Trashing the Leather Wallet

FeliCa: Trashing the Leather WalletAn exclusive interview with Shusaku Muruko, senior manager of Sony’s Mobile FeliCa Business Division, providing insight on how the FeliCa contactless IC chip (now being trialed on NTT DoCoMo handsets) will soon consign traditional leather wallets to the gomibako of history. In a speech last week, DoCoMo’s “Mr. i-mode,” Takeshi Natsuno, officially confirmed that FeliCa chips will be embedded in this summer’s 506i second-generation handsets — and likely in the next round of FOMA 900i-series 3G handsets as well. With FeliCa mandatory on all new DoCoMo cellies from this summer on, and with crucial partners including KDDI and JCB already on board, FeliCa m-payment technology has a very good chance, we think, of reaching the company’s 60-million-user target for Japan by 2008. If you’re hoping to sell anything via mobile anywhere on planet Earth, this program is a must-see. Full Program Run-time 13:38

NTT Boosts Challenge to DoCoMo FeliCa

Well, the cat is really among the pigeons now as former fixed line monopoly Big Brother NTT just announced plans to launch a challenge to the FeliCa smart-card standard promoted by DoCoMo and Sony. NTT said it will support FeliCa, a major boost to the FeliCa standard. But in a classic case of Indian giving NTT has decided to also develop a smart card supporting the government’s terminally unpopular and constantly personal-data -leaking national registry network called “Juki Net.”

Sony FeliCa Gets Near Field Boost

Sony announced today that the 13.56 MHz Near Field (NF) Communication technology that’s been under wraps with Royal Philips Electronics has got green lights from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) under the ISO/IEC IS 18092 standard. So now Philips and Sony cards can talk to each other, taking FeliCa –or what it’s now calling the NFC Chips — to cellies, cameras and… knowing Sony, just about anything it can to talk to the Europeans.

DoCoMo and KDDI Pushing the Envelope and Raking in Profits

Just as we thought things are gearing up this month, Japan’s number one and two carriers have really pulled some goodies out of their bag. We’ve already talked about KDDI and flat fees, but this week’s subject is profits for the carriers and a grab bag of gains for subscribers. If ever there was a reason not to keep your eyes fixed on Japan’s wireless communications, we’d like to know. DoCoMo trumped itself recently announcing profits, Felicia Mobile commerce with Sony, and now (finally) some concrete plans to expand i-mode. We have the innards of DoCoMo’s recent press conference up for you in this week’s WWJ video program here.

Sony and NTT DoCoMo Form Joint Venture Co. for FeliCa Business

Sony Corporation and NTT DoCoMo, Inc. have agreed to form a Joint Venture Company to develop new services based on mobile phones equipped with Sony’s contactless IC Card technology FeliCa(R). The Joint Venture is targeted for establishment in January 2004. Discussions between Sony and DoCoMo will continue to finalize the details of this company which will be named: FeliCa Networks, Inc.

Credit Companies Trial IR Payment via i-Mode

Visa International, Nippon Shinpan, Aeon Credit Service, OMC Card, and NTT DoCoMo announced that they have agreed to commercialize credit card settlements using mobile phones, and that they will start a trial service soon. The mobile phones designated for the trial service are NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode-supporting 504i series and 504iS series that have the infrared communication function to download Java applications.

bitWallet: Sony & DoCoMo Make Mobile Money

bitWallet: Sony & DoCoMo Make Mobile MoneyWe’ve told you before that the celly is morphing into an e-wallet, and it looks as though it’s going to happen in 2003. bitWallet is a joint venture between Sony, NTT DoCoMo, and a bevy of banks and other interested players all salivating over potential profits. Although there are no details yet on what an e-wallet-enabled keitai will ultimately look like, today’s program shows how contactless smart cards are being used in Japan. Features an in-depth interview with sr. bitWallet staff; if you want a glimpse of the future – don’t miss this one.