Major Japanese carriers join forces to adopt international NFC standard

NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank have created the “Japan Mobile NFC Consortium,” which will help the three carriers coordinate and adopt an international NFC standard. Currently, all three operators offer an NFC service dubbed Osaifu-Keitai (wallet phone) which uses a contactless-IC smartcard that’s called FeliCa. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t work overseas where other carriers use Type A or Type B NFC standards, which means Osaifu-Ketai won’t function properly for NTT DoCoMo, KDDI or SoftBank customers hoping to use their phones for mobile payments overseas. The three carriers hope they can work with handset makers and vendors to encourage the adoption of Type A and Type B NFC standards. The consortium also aims to “create an environment in Japan where service providers can offer efficient, low-cost NFC services based on common standards and rules adopted by the three mobile operators.” The full press release follows after the break.

DOCOMO, KDDI and SOFTBANK Establish Consortium to Promote NFC Services Compatible with Multiple International Standards Partnerships

TOKYO, JAPAN, December 21, 2011 — NTT DOCOMO, INC., KDDI CORPORATION and SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. announced today their establishment of Japan Mobile NFC Consortium to coordinate the adoption of multiple international standards for near field communication (NFC) technologies incorporated in their mobile devices and services.

Japan’s three mobile operators already offer Osaifu- Keitai™ (wallet phone) mobile services based on the contactless-IC smartcard called FeliCa®. Overseas, however, mobile operators and service providers are increasingly adopting Type A and Type B standards to develop growing markets for NFC services. In view of this worldwide trend, the consortium intends to work with mobile industry groups in Japan, including service suppliers and handset manufacturers, to incorporate compatibility with the Type A and B standards in the Japanese mobile ecosystem.

By ensuring compatibility with multiple NFC standards, the consortium aims to:

- Free mobile users in Japan, both residents and international travelers, from having to concern themselves about different NFC service standards.

- Create an environment in Japan where service providers can offer efficient, low-cost NFC services based on common standards and rules adopted by the three mobile operators.

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