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Japan’s NTT Docomo and Korea’s KT Launch Cross-Border NFC Service

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Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo Inc. and South Korean carrier KT Corporation last month entered into an agreement to develop a cross-border mobile service using near-field communication technology. This new NFC service will be used for mobile payments, promotional coupons, mass-transit ticketing, and other mobile applications in Japan and South Korea.

NTT and KT, through their Business & Technology Cooperation Committee, are coming up with NFC specifications that they will incorporate into networks, devices and billing platforms for seamless mobile NFC services. Users in either country will be able to access the NFC services through compatible Android mobile phones that have been embedded with those contactless IC chips.

In an update, reports state that the NFC couponing service is the first to be launched. This international NFC-based couponing service is set to go live on April 1, allowing users in both countries to collect then redeem special offers via NFC posters. Services for mobile payments and ticketing are expected to follow soon.

This initial cross-border NFC offering will see NTT Docomo and KT setting up NFC smart posters at the Haneda airport in Tokyo, the Gimpo airport in Seoul, and various shopping malls within these two cities. People in either country with NFC-enabled handsets can use this new service to download coupons or special offers, and even access maps and tourist information in their own language so they can conveniently locate participating merchants who are offering promotions and discounts and then redeem the coupons.

The participation of mobile network operators in other Asian countries is also set to follow the launch of these cross-border NFC services. This means that NTT Docomo and KT are planning to gradually expand their cross-border capabilities across Asia as ‘NFC Zones.’ In fact, NTT Docomo is now working with China Mobile and is in discussion about the project with mobile operators in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.

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