East Japan Railway Company (JR East), NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and Sony Corporation (Sony) today announced that they will offer a new service combining DoCoMo's i-mode® FeliCa® smart-card handset and Suica, JR East's IC card train ticket, from January 2006. The Mobile Suica® service will enable i-mode FeliCa handsets to be used as Suica cards. A test of the service will begin March 2005 using pilot i-mode FeliCa handsets.
Until now, more than 10 million Suica cards have been issued. The cards can be used not only to ride trains, but also to make purchases at selected restaurants, convenience stores and other shops inside and outside JR stations.
DoCoMo's i-mode FeliCa service combines two advanced platforms: DoCoMo's i-mode mobile internet service for data communications on the go and Sony's FeliCa smart-card platform for rapid, secure data transmission. The handset is a powerful, multifunctional tool combining mobile communications with diverse functions ranging from financial transactions to opening electronic locks. As of February 12 more than 2 million i-mode FeliCa handsets have been sold.
FeliCa Networks, Inc., a joint venture established by the three companies, will develop IC chips for the Mobile Suica service and service applications.
At its launch in January 2006, Mobile Suica customers, in addition to enjoying all current Suica features, are expected to be able to use their handsets to do the following:
- Recharge stored fare and purchase commuter passes anytime and anywhere.
- Check the balance of stored fare usage on the screen of the handsets.
JR East is also considering offering the following Mobile Suica services after the launch:
- Online shopping with Suica electronic money by the second half of fiscal 2006.
- Purchase of reserved Shinkansen tickets in fiscal 2007. Passengers will be able to pass through the ticket gate with the i-mode FeliCa handset.
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