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The nation’s first commercial service allowing cellular phones to serve as e-wallets will start in the spring after a trial service using 10,000 monitors that is set for November, telecom carrier KDDI Corp. and five other companies announced Wednesday.

Phones with a small module equipped with an encoding function developed by Woori Technology Inc. of South Korea will be capable of settling payments for both real and virtual shops through users’ accounts at eBank Corp., a Net-based bank in Tokyo, the firms said.

The six participating firms are KDDI Corp., Woori Technology Inc., eBank Corp., Itochu Techno-Science Corp., consulting firm Proseed Corp. and icePAY Japan, a joint venture set up by Woori Technology and Proseed Corp.

After the trial service, the companies plan to launch the commercial service by distributing 1 million units of the modules for the first fiscal year and five million units over three years, the companies said.

To settle payment at real shops, customers will remove the module unit and attach it to a mobile phone installed at the shop that accesses an icePAY Japan server.

A clerk will then input the payment amount in the shop’s mobile phone and the customer will approve the transaction by inputting their password.

At a virtual shop, users can settle payments through their own mobile phones and modules, the companies said.

The new settlement service will be compatible with recent models of KDDI’s au mobile phones.

EBank Corp. eventually hopes to offer online money-transfer functions between mobile cellular users through the service, the firms said.

In addition to 5,000 existing monitors, the trial service will accept applications from 5,000 members of the public starting Oct. 1.

For further info, access icePAY Japan’s Web site at www.icepay.co.jp

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