Fujitsu Ltd., DDI Corp. and Citigroup of the United States jointly announced Wednesday in Tokyo that they have developed what they claim is the world’s first shopping settlement system for smart cellular phones.
The three companies plan to start a pilot service by the end of December in Japan.
Under the service, users of Internet-capable mobile phones connected to DDI-affiliated cell phone companies will be able to order various goods with settlements to be made through Citibank.
The three companies said the system is “an open standard” and called on other financial institutions and cellular operators to join them to establish a global standard.
“I believe that we can build a system with which you can buy various goods anytime and anywhere via a cellular phone,” said DDI President Yusai Okuyama during a press conference at a Tokyo hotel.
Citigroup said that they will also adopt the system in other countries if the pilot service proves a success in Japan, a nation that has millions of smart phone users with advanced Web-browsing capabilities.
Cell phone users, who register necessary information such as credit card or bank account numbers in advance, will be able to order products by inputting a code for each item or service. Codes will be shown on a variety of media, such as paper-based catalogs and advertisements as well as Web sites.
By choosing from the menu displayed on the cell phone, users will be able to specify where they will receive the goods — home, workplace or a nearby convenience store, for example.
The new system will also allow users to transfer money from their bank accounts.
For example, they will be able to pay for meals at registered restaurants by calling up the restaurant’s phone number and specifying the amount of money and other information, the three firms said.
The three companies aim to attract 12 million users by fiscal 2004.
Cellular operator J-Phone Tokyo Co. has already decided to adopt the shopping settlement system, the three firms said.
They will urge other cell phone operators, including NTT DoCoMo Inc., DDI’s rival, to join forces, company officials said.
They plan to upgrade the services by adopting technology to identify users by their voice, and allowing access also from personal computers and home video game machines.