Japanese mobile operator network KDDI to launch NFC

Japan’s second largest mobile network operator will begin commercial NFC services within a month, it announced yesterday. It will become the first mobile carrier to provide this service, as NFC is prevalent in other Japanese industries. The rollout will include partners in aviation (Japan Airlines), as well as credit card issuers (Orient Corporation, JACCS and Credit Saison), loyalty programme providers (Bic Corporation and Culture Convenience Club) and retailers, with the majority of the services coming out in spring 2012.

The range of services supported will include mobile payments, but also loyalty solutions and membership cards.

KDDI has partnered with several international companies to provide the supply of this move. Gemalto, a top player in digital security, has helped develop the secure SIM cards, with Toshiba Corporation also having worked on their NFC capability. MasterCard is ensuring that payments will be compatible with its PayPass contactless solution.

Initially, the service will only be available on Samsung Galaxy S II, but KDDI has announced it will move the service on to other handsets in the near future. Yesterday’s announcement follows last month’s announcement of the three major MNOs (KDDI along with Softbank and NTT DoCoMo) forming the Japan Mobile NFC Consortium, in order to facilitate the Asian country’s swith to NFC technology en masse.

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