KDDI launches NFC in Japan

The mobile network operator will begin commercial NFC services from the end of January with partners including Japan Airlines, credit card issuers, loyalty programme providers and retailers.

KDDI: Rolling out NFC this month

Mobile network operator KDDI has announced it will become the first Japanese carrier to begin offering a commercial NFC service. The launch is due to take place before the end of January 2012.

KDDI’s NFC service will support mobile payments, including both credit cards and electronic cash, coupons, membership cards and tickets. NFC tag reading and peer-to-peer transactions will also be supported.

A range of services from a variety of partners will be gradually phased in, with most beginning in Spring 2012:

  • Japan Airlines (JAL) will begin offering NFC airline tickets and boarding passes from the summer of 2012.
  • Three credit providers are working on the introduction of NFC payments: Orient Corporation, Credit Saison and JACCS.
  • Seven Card Service will provide an NFC-version of its Nanaco electronic cash service, already widely adopted as a mobile payments service by users of Japan’s existing non-NFC standard Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet service.
  • Loyalty card programmes will be offered by Bic Corporation and by Culture Convenience Club, which owns the Tsutaya chain of rental stores and operates the T-Card loyalty programme accepted in Tsutaya stores as well as a number of other retail chains. T-Card holders visiting the Shibuya branch of Tsutaya will also be able to test out a range of additional NFC services, including downloading movie trailers.
  • Dai Nippon Printing will be providing mobile coupons and gift card services as well as information distribution services via smart posters.
  • Movie theatre and entertainment services provider Tokyu Recreation Co will be using NFC for social media campaigns, allowing customers to automatically become Twitter followers and get product information by reading an NFC tag.
  • Shoppers in Tokyo’s upmarket Ginza district will be able to read NFC tags to access information about the area’s shops and facilities, in a service provided via the Tokyo Ubiquitous Technology Project.
  • The Ubiquitous Computing Technology Corporation is placing NFC tags around Ueno Zoo, allowing visitors to obtain further information about the animals on show.
  • A time management solution, provided by Ivy Co and E-Works, will also be available to employers, allowing staff arrival and departure times to be clocked with NFC phones.

KDDI has appointed a number of suppliers for the rollout of its commercial NFC service. They include:

  • Gemalto will act as KDDI’s trusted service manager (TSM) and has also worked on the development of SIM cards and services.
  • Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) will provide provisioning services, enabling individual cardholders’ details to be securely sent to their NFC phone. DNP is also working on the development of NFC applications, SIM cards, NFC payment terminals and tag reading solutions.
  • Toppan Printing is supplying NFC payments and loyalty applications and providing implementation support to NFC service providers.
  • Toshiba has worked on the development of NFC SIM cards.
  • MasterCard has worked with KDDI to ensure its payments solutions are compatible with the payments network’s international PayPass contactless payments solution.

KDDI will begin by offering one NFC phone, the Samsung Galaxy S II, at launch but says it will add further phones in the coming months.

The carrier is the first of Japan’s mobile network operators to launch a commercial NFC service. NTT Docomo, founder of Japan’s existing non-NFC standard Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet service, and Softbank are also planning to introduce commercial services this year. The three carriers formed the Japan Mobile NFC Consortium in December, with the aim of coordinating the switch from Osaifu-Keitai to NFC standard technology.

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