April 27, 2005

TOKYO — Japanese mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc. announced Wednesday (April 27) it would implement a phone-based credit card service that expands the function of its Mobile Wallet prepaid electronic money service.

NTT Docomo will collaborate with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to establish a platform for a credit-payment service using Docomo's phones equipped with the Felica wireless IC chip for cashless payments.

Under the deal, Docomo will shortly launch a new credit card brand and acquire 34 percent of the equity of Mitsui Card, paying approximately ¥98 billion (about $925 million). Docomo expects that Sumitomo's card network will accelerate deployment of its new credit card network.

The new card to be issued by Docomo will also have include an international credit card company's brand name. However, the card will initially only be able to access Docomo's credit card service in Japan.

Docomo has been conducting field trials to test the feasibility of using mobile phones to conduct financial transactions. The key to the service is the Felica contactless IC card developed by Sony Corp. and licensed by Felica Networks.

Docomo started offering handsets with the Felica chip last July. East Japan Railway Company, the largest railway company in Japan, also uses the Felica chip for its transportation system and related money transactions.