Japan: KDDI to Launch Multiapp NFC Trial in 'FeliCa Country'


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Tokyo Japan
May 2010
Main Application: 
Payment and ID
Mobile Operator: 
Service Provider (application): 
Orico (MasterCard PayPass)
Service Provider (application): 
Jibun Bank (m-banking, other)
Service Provider (application): 
Credit Saison (PayPass acceptance)
Service Provider (application): 
Aiwai Card Services (e-money)
Service Provider (application): 
Toho Cinemas (event ticketing)
Service Provider (application): 
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines (check-in or boarding, likely)
Service Provider (application): 
KDDI or NTT Data (likely) (Japanese contactless driver’s license)
Service Provider (application): 
Toyota Motor (automobile services)
Service Provider (application): 
NFC Handsets: 
Secure Element: 
Other Vendors: 
NTT Data (driver’s license implementation, other), Toshiba (SIM), Gemalto (SIM), MasterCard Worldwide (PayPass application), Hitachi (applications), Farm Tech (applications), Normura Research Institute (consulting), Dai Nippon Printing (tag system, likely), Denso (readers), Toppan Printing (other)

In it’s planned eight-month trial, Japan’s No. 2 mobile operator, KDDI, has announced it plans to offer a range of services to trial participants–many similar to those already rolled out in Japan using nonstandard FeliCa technology. But the applications planned for the trial–ranging from payment to cinema ticketing to mobile ID using a test version of Japan’s contactless driver’s license–would comply with standard NFC technology. That includes supporting ISO/IEC 14443 communication specifications. Tag reading and Bluetooth-based applications are also planned for the pilot.

NFC Times Take: 

With the planned trial, KDDI steps up its push for NFC in Japan, opposing rival NTT DoCoMo, the main promoter of Sony Corp.’s FeliCa contactless technology that is present in more than 60 million wallet phones in circulation in Japan. KDDI and Japan’s No. 3 mobile telco, Softbank Mobile, believe a move to standard NFC could increase the variety of applications and encourage more use of contactless-mobile services by subscribers, including payment and ticketing. KDDI believes, for example, that government ID applications, such as the one used on Japan’s contactless driver’s license cards–is a natural fit for phones. Government contactless applications follow international standards, not FeliCa, though it’s unclear yet whether the government and especially subscribers want ID on their phones. KDDI and Softbank think NFC also would also give them a better business model compared with the FeliCa wallet technology, which is controlled by DoCoMo and Sony. But with hundreds of thousands of transit and payment terminals supporting FeliCa in Japan, this NFC trial–while much more ambitious than the few other NFC trials KDDI and Softbank have held–is just a small step toward the rollout of NFC. Such a rollout depends on a shift in strategy by DoCoMo. 




* Trusted Service Manager: Defined loosely to include companies or other organizations securely distributing, provisioning and managing applications, generally over the air, on secure elements in NFC mobile phones; or licensing their platforms for this purpose.

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