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Japan wants in on NFC

Felica father DoCoMo to hook up with South Korea's KT

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Japan's DoCoMo is going to work with South Korea's KT to create a cross-border payment infrastructure, coming in from the cold to embrace and extend the NFC standard.

The service is expected to launch around the end of next year, and support existing payment applications including BitWallet's Edy in Japan and KT's ticketing system in South Korea. However, DoCoMo's aspirations go far beyond the east with plans to get its international payment architecture adopted by the GSM Association for global use.

The announcement follows a similar deal between SK Telecom, KDDI and Softbank Mobile, which was announced in July but has now started trials with a view to deployment this year - as reported by NFC World.

KDDI and Softbank are both keen to switch from the Felica system which is part owned by their domineering competitor DoCoMo, but now it seems that even DoCoMo is embracing the Near Field Communications standard.

Submitting standards to the GSMA won't be as easy as imposing them on the domestic market, where DoCoMo has been able to dictate numerous technical standards thanks to its control over handset manufacturers and market dominance. The imposition of standards such as Felica and iMode has given the Japanese the world's most advanced mobile services, but at the cost of incompatibility with the rest of the world.

Samsung will be helping DoCoMo and KT realise an international architecture that will allow travellers between Japan and South Korea to install local payment systems on their roaming handsets, by the end of next year. ®

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