NTT DoCoMo Inc. announced Thursday a new partnership with MasterCard Worldwide that will enable its smartphone users to make contactless electronic payments in other countries starting sometime after next April.
With the contactless payment system, a smartphone or other device with an embedded IC chip can be waved over a sensor to make payments at shops or trains stations.
The most common device of this kind in Japan is East Japan Railway Co.’s Suica commuter pass. Such devices to date are unavailable to Japanese consumers for use overseas.
MasterCard offers the PayPass contactless payment system, which can be used at 500,000 locations in 41 countries and regions, including the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan.
The new alliance lets users of certain types of DoCoMo smartphones, those equipped with the near-field communication chip, to make payments via PayPass-compatible terminals.
Vicky Bindra, MasterCard Worldwide Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa president, said the launch of this service is significant and enhances convenience for DoCoMo smartphone users.
“It’s also a landmark moment in the Japanese payment industry,” he said at a press event held in Tokyo where DoCoMo also unveiled its new cellphone lineup for this coming winter.
DoCoMo said the service will be launched sometime in the first half of the next April-March business year.
The Japanese mobile phone carrier also unveiled 16 new mobile phones to be put on sale in or after November, including nine smartphones capable of using the fastest data transmission service in Japan.
With the Long Term Evolution high-speed telecommunication service, the smartphones can receive data at 100 megabits per second, about three times faster than the maximum speed of the current LTE service.
The 100-megabit-per-second service will be available first in the Shikoku and Hokuriku regions between November and March, the carrier said.
The nine smartphones include a new version of the Galaxy S3 by Samsung Electronics Co. as well as the Aquos Phone Zeta SH-02E by Sharp Corp., which has adopted Sharp’s own liquid crystal display for the first time.
DoCoMo is locked in heated competition with rivals KDDI Corp. and Softbank Corp., both of which offer the popular Apple Inc. iPhone 5 smartphone.
Information from Kyodo added