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DoCoMo Tests Pay-By-Phone Service

NTT DoCoMo officials are testing a new service that lets its users pay via an embedded integrated circuit in selected Sony N504iC and SO504iC models of wireless handsets.

The two companies will create a company, FeliCa Networks, Inc., in January, 2004, in order to cement the arrangement between telecom and manufacturer that is necessary to build payment-ready devices.

The test, dubbed the i-mode FeliCa preview service, will be conducted by 5,000 participants from 27 different wireless phone companies around Japan. With FeliCa, users will pay for toll booth charges and other applicable e-money charges, as well as for personal identification.

During the trial, NTT DoCoMo will monitor and analyze the usage statistics to further develop its e-commerce initiative. The test ends in the Summer of 2004, and officials plan to launch the service throughout Japan soon afterwards.