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Tears of Buddha
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong Form Strategic Partnership to Bring i-mode to Hong Kong and Macau Exclusively

June 1, 2006, Tokyo, Hong Kong --- NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Hutchison Telecom International Limited ("Hutchison Telecom"; SEHK:2332; NYSE: HTX) jointly announced today that a strategic partnership* has been formed to bring i-mode™ services to Hong Kong and Macau exclusively.

DoCoMo will provide the technology, know-how and marketing expertise to the partnership, enabling Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong to offer i-mode services via its territory-wide networks. In addition, the parties have also agreed within the scope of this long-term partnership to jointly consider the application of contactless IC card technology services, widely known as wallet-phone in Japan on i-mode enabled handsets in Hong Kong and Macau.

With these revolutionary services, Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong's customers will enjoy another exciting dimension of mobile service, including easy access to a broad variety of Internet lifestyle options, fun and convenient content as well as full e-mail capabilities.

The i-mode platform allows service providers to readily integrate their Internet content and applications for mobile i-mode usage. Since its launch, i-mode has brought more than five thousand official sites offering thousands of relevant services worldwide, to life. Additionally, there are more than one hundred thousand independent i-mode sites available in Japan, creating an entire generation of i-mode enthusiasts in the country.

Commenting on the partnership, Dennis Lui, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Telecom said, "We are delighted by this partnership. In addition to providing cutting-edge services for our customers, it consolidates our position as Hong Kong's most forward-looking mobile operator, as we continue to lead innovative developments in the mobile industry and seek to shape the communications market into the future."

NTT DoCoMo Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Multimedia Services, Takeshi Natsuno commented, "I am very pleased and excited that i-mode will be offered in Hong Kong and Macau through one of the world's leading telecommunication companies Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong's solid networks. We are confident that this strategic partnership will bring multiple synergies for both companies as well as other member operators. We are also proud to announce our common strategy in bringing our wallet-phone experience from Japan to the region. This new partnership will certainly drive further expansion of i-mode in the global arena."

The i-mode service is provided on an open platform based on de facto Internet standards. This functionality has attracted numerous content and application providers, creating a vibrant and virtual market place where thousands of sites serve the mobile needs of diverse customer lifestyles.

"With its proven business model and unique service platform, i-mode creates an open gateway for content providers. They will be able to immediately tap into the vast potential of one of the largest mobile customer bases in Hong Kong supported by one of the most advanced mobile networks in the world. We will work with content providers to spearhead the next generation of mobile Internet development in Hong Kong." Mr Lui added.

With the signing of this agreement, there will be 16 i-mode operators in 24 countries and areas around the world. In addition to DoCoMo in Japan, they include: KPN Mobile N. V. (The Netherlands), BASE N.V./S.A. (Belgium), E-plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Far EasTone Telecommunication Co., Ltd (Taiwan), Bouygues Telecom S. A. (France), Telefonica Moviles Espana, S. A. (Spain), Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA (Italy), COSMOTE Mobile Telecommunications S.A. (Greece), Telstra Corporation Limited (Australia), Cellcom Israel LTD. (Israel), O2 plc (UK and Ireland), Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (Russia) and StarHub Ltd. (Singapore). SMART Communications, Inc. is currently also preparing to launch the service in the Philippines.


*The strategic partnership refers to the Integrated i-mode Service Package Agreement entered into between DoCoMo and Hutchison Telephone Company Limited (a direct subsidiary of Hutchison Telecom) dated 1 June 2006.

About Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited
Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited ('Hutchison Telecom' or 'the Group') is a leading global provider of telecommunication services. The Group currently offers mobile and fixed-line telecommunication services in Hong Kong, and operates or is rolling out mobile telecommunication services in Macau, India, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam. It was the first provider of 3G mobile services in Hong Kong and Israel and operates brands including "Hutch", "3" and "Orange".

Hutchison Telecom is a listed company with American Depositary Shares quoted on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HTX and shares listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong under the stock code 2332. A member of the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Group, Hutchison Telecom is dedicated to providing superior telecommunications services in dynamic markets.

About Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited
Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited ("Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong") is one of the largest mobile telecommunication service operators in Hong Kong. Since 1983, it has always been a pioneer in the development of mobile telecommunication deploying multiple mobile technologies including 1G AMPS/ TACS, 2G GSM/ CDMA and 2.5G GPRS/ IS95B in Hong Kong.

Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong is committed to providing high quality mobile telecommunication services, telecom retail services and call centre services in Hong Kong and Macau, as well as mobile telecommunications consultancy services in Mainland China. It is also the first operator in Hong Kong to roll out world-class 3G service under the "3" brand, leading Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong's technical and service excellence into the 3G era.

Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong is a subsidiary of Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited ("Hutchison Telecom"). Hutchison Telecom is a leading listed telecommunications operator (SEHK:2332; NYSE:HTX) focusing on dynamic markets. It currently offers mobile and fixed-line telecommunication services in Hong Kong, and operates or is rolling out mobile telecommunication services in India, Israel, Macau, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam.

About NTT DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo is the world's leading mobile communications company. DoCoMo serves more than 51 million subscribers, including an unmatched 24 million people subscribing to FOMA™, launched as the world's first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA in 2001. DoCoMo also offers a wide variety of leading-edge mobile multimedia services, including i-mode™, the world's most popular mobile e-mail/Internet service, used by more than 46 million people. With the addition of credit-card and other e-wallet functions, DoCoMo mobile phones have become highly versatile tools for daily life. NTT DoCoMo is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM) and New York (DCM) stock exchanges.
 

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Tears of Buddha
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
What's Wallet-phone?

from two old articles (in 2004)

(USA Today)
Japanese carrier unveils mobile-phone wallet
By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press
TOKYO — As it is, you don't leave home without it. In a world of cashless payment, why not simply make your cell phone a wallet? Japan has long been phasing out the hassle of coins and bills with microchip-laden "smart cards," which let people make electronic payments for everything from lunch to the daily commute.

But even smart cards could be on their way out, their plastic presence overtaken by virtual-wallet technology now available in the everyday cell phone.

Other nations, led by South Korea, already have so-called mobile commerce payment schemes in place that let people punch keys on their cell phones so that the devices trigger transactions.

But a series of phones going on sale this summer in Japan, for use on NTT DoCoMo's wireless network, are the world's first with an embedded computer chip that you can fill up with electronic cash.

The wireless company loaned me a P506iC handset from Matsushita and I was in business. Well, almost.

First I had to find a machine that's used to stoke smart cards with cash. They can be found in some convenience stores and offices in Japan. You place the phone in a special slot and slip bills into the machine. The phones have a 50,000-yen ($450) limit.

Now you can spend.

To pay you simply wave your cell phone within a few inches of a special display found in stores, restaurants and vending machines around Japan. A fairy-like tinkling sound means your purchase is being deducted from the embedded chip using radio-frequency ID technology.

It's instantaneous.

Unlike infrared or other mobile payment schemes that require clicks on the handset, you don't even need to open your clamshell-shaped phone, the style of choice here.

It's rather fun to pay for things this way.

It's also an idea that makes sense, given that almost every Japanese has a cell phone and relies on it so much that being stranded in the street without one almost causes panic. There are 81.5 million cell phones in this nation of 127 million people.

For the wallet phone tech to really take off, stores, theaters and restaurants that accept electronic payments need to become more widespread. They total around 9,000 in Japan so far, and the number is quickly growing.

To buy a diet Pepsi from a vending machine, I pushed an "electronic payment" button on the machine and pushed another button to pick the soda. When a display the size of a small greeting card lit up with the price, I put my phone next to the display.

Shazaam. The soda pop rolled out, and the display blinked with the amount of money left in the phone.

To pay for my fried-rice lunch at a restaurant in our office building, I brought my bill to the register and told the clerk I wanted to pay electronically. When he rang it up, the little display lit up with the price. I just flashed my phone.

I also played Virtua Fighter arcade games at one of the two Sega amusement centers in Japan where the phone payments work. And I bought gum and bottled tea at a convenience store with the phone.

Like millions of other Japanese, I have a few smart cards. One, the Suica, works as my commuter train pass. The other, an Edy card, works as a wallet at some stores and its "cash" machines are the ones NTT DoCoMo uses for its phones.

I carry my Suica practically every day. But I don't always remember my Edy. So the P506iC wallet phone was handy, indeed. After all, what reporter is without a cell phone these days?

Computer experts have suggested that hackers could develop a way to pickpocket cell phone wallets merely by getting close to people's handsets. That hasn't happened — yet.

Another concern is that a telecom company — or a government — could find out too much about your spending proclivities and your physical movements. But other features on Japan's richly endowed cell phones offer marketers plenty of information on consuming habits as it is: Almost all phones have e-mail and Internet connections for restaurant searches, ringtone downloads, news and weather.

One Japanese airline lets passengers use the wallet phone to speed up check-ins at airports and next year you'll be able to use the phones to begin paying for train rides and video rentals.

Later this year, Japanese credit-card company JCB plans to offer a service that will let corporate clients use chip-embedded phones as electronic keys to get into office buildings.

And if you lose your wallet phone?

Well, DoCoMo can lock it, which means no one else can use it for calls. And no one else would be able to add more money to the cash-dispensing chip.

But whatever money is stored on the phone is like a virtual wad of cash. The clerk at the DoCoMo store repeatedly told me not to put any more money into the phone than I could afford to lose.

(IEEE Spectrum)
Here Comes The Wallet Phone
NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest cellphone system operator, best known worldwide for pioneering the wireless Internet in 1999 with its hugely successful i-mode system, looks to have another big winner on its hands. Having recast the cellular handset as an electronic wallet—in effect a prepaid wireless cash card—it's getting ready to make it a full-fledged wireless credit card.

DoCoMo is working with major travel and banking organizations to extend the reach of its e-wallet service. Meanwhile, its two main Japanese rivals, KDDI Corp. and Vodafone K.K., are introducing competing products. (All three companies are based in Tokyo.)

The critical element in DoCoMo's Osaifu-Keitai, or mobile wallet, is a wireless smart card chip, FeliCa (from the English word "felicity"), which was developed by Sony Corp. and Royal Philips Electronics for close proximity, low-data-rate transactions. The wallet phones can be used to make electronic purchases at stores or vending machines equipped with FeliCa readers; can act as boarding passes on certain domestic air flights; and can authorize entry through corporate security doors—all with a wave of the handset

Already, a year after DoCoMo introduced its first e-wallet, the company has shipped some 6 million of the handsets. "By the end of March 2006 we forecast DoCoMo will have shipped around 10 million mobile wallets," says Shohei Sakaguchi, executive director of DoCoMo's multimedia service department. "And by the end of 2006 we believe the figure will reach 15 million." In addition, he says, competing carriers could ship 5 million more handsets, for a total of some 20 million mobile wallets by the end of next year.

Sony's FeliCa chip originated as the active element in its contactless smart cards, introduced in 1995. They dominate the market for such devices in Japan and are widely used in Asia as commuter passes and for making e-purchases. As of June, Sony had distributed 82 million such chips, including 53 million in Japan, 16 million in Hong Kong, 10 million in Singapore, and 1.5 million in China.

In January 2004, Sony and DoCoMo formed a joint venture to adapt the chip for mobile phones. Besides supplying DoCoMo with the chip, the venture is also shipping mobile FeliCa integrated circuits to KDDI and Vodafone, which launched their own wallet phones in September and October, respectively.

Users with FeliCa phones who have registered for the e-wallet service can load money onto the phone's chip in two ways. They can feed cash directly into special machines found in convenience stores and other locations, or they can do it by phone, keying in a personal identification number and transferring cash from a credit-card account.

From a technical point of view, the FeliCa chip is part of a transponder system: it receives its power from the waves radiating from read/write devices it communicates with, so a battery is not required. The chip, based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, operates at 13.56 megahertz over a distance of 10 centimeters, communicating at 212 kilobits per second. The communications protocol, called Near Field Communication, was developed by Sony and Philips and has been standardized under ISO/IEC procedures.

A pioneering user of FeliCa technology is East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), the country's largest rail company. Its Suica smart card is used both for e-purchases and as a commuter pass. Users simply flash the card as they go through turnstiles, and instantly the reader displays the cost of the journey and the amount of e-cash remaining on the card. JR East plans to extend the commuter service in January to wallet phones from DoCoMo and KDDI, and it is in discussions with Vodafone.

Mobile FeliCa application files and their data are managed separately in the wallet phone, and they each take up from 0.5 to 1 kilobyte. The number of applications is limited only by the amount of memory on the chip, which is currently 5 KB in DoCoMo's phones.

Mutual authentication between the chip and a reader/writer is based on a key encryption system made up of randomly generated numbers. Information such as transaction histories and account balances can be presented on the phone's display. And should the phone be lost or stolen, a subscriber can block transactions by calling the handset with a preregistered number or calling customer support to have the phone locked. The user can opt for a personal identification number to be entered before transactions are made, an important feature given that up to 50 000 yen (US $450) in e-cash can be stored.

Despite DoCoMo's impressive shipment figures, the actual number of people using the wallet part of the phone might not be so high. Some reports estimate that the number is as low as 550 000; DoCoMo's own figures are more optimistic.

"Some 20 to 30 percent of [the] total [number of owners] are registered to use their phones as wallets," says Sakaguchi, whose boss, Takeshi Natsuno, managing director of DoCoMo's multimedia services, played a major role in creating both i-mode and the i-mode FeliCa service.

To give subscribers more reasons to use their wallet phones, DoCoMo has asked a Sumitomo Mitsui banking group to help it develop its own credit-payment services. By the spring, DoCoMo plans to launch a plastic card in partnership with an international credit card company, and then in the first half of fiscal 2006 it anticipates including the service in its wallet phones.

DoCoMo hopes to help popularize the use of credit cards in a country that still relies mostly on hard cash for conducting everyday business. "Credit cards are usually used [in Japan] only to make large purchases," Sakaguchi says. "But with our service, users will be able to make purchases as small as 100 yen."

In July, DoCoMo teamed up with NTT Data and the rail company JR East to set up a joint venture aimed at covering the cost of installing equipment for companies and stores wanting to implement the Suica e-cash service. They expect their investment costs to be recouped by charging a commission on transactions.

As for introducing the technology overseas, DoCoMo is keeping silent on the subject. Since 2002, however, it has been working with a dozen mobile operators in Europe, Taiwan, and Israel to create local versions of i-mode. Vodafone, though it refrains from commenting on plans for its wallet-phone business, has subsidiaries and alliances in 28 countries across five continents, giving it ample opportunity to introduce an e-wallet service when the time is right.
 

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Tears of Buddha
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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DoCoMo eyes Octopus Card to extend reach
5 June 2006
South China Morning Post

After enlisting Hutchison Telecommunications International as its 16th global licensee for its mobile internet platform, NTT DoCoMo is hoping to further spread its i-mode mobile phone payment function to Hong Kong by partnering with Octopus Card.

Octopus Card management has already had initial contact with DoCoMo and Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong as its chief executive Eric Tai Yung-muk attended their press conference last week announcing their i-mode partnership.

Takeshi Natsuno, senior vice-president and managing director of multimedia services, said DoCoMo could replicate the success of i-mode and its "wallet-phone" function in Hong Kong as the same technology is already used here in the form of a smart card.

"Hong Kong people are already used to using contactless smart cards. For Octopus, they [would have cost benefit from] producing less cards as such cost would be absorbed by us," said Mr Natsuno.

"Wallet-phone" allows users to book tickets, store merchants' membership information and buy snacks with their mobile phones. In Japan, where 12 million of DoCoMo's 46 million i-mode customers are using "wallet-phones", some Tokyo residents can open the doors to their homes using the same technology built into their handsets.

Octopus Card has issued more than 13 million smart cards, which can now be used not only to pay for a transport ride but also in convenience stores and fast-food chains; they are also used in schools for logging attendance.

There were 8.64 million mobile phones in use in Hong Kong in February.

Mr Natsuno said more talks between Octopus and Hutchison Telecom were necessary to bring about a deal.

Octopus Card is a joint venture by five transport operators, namely, MTR Corp, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp, Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus and New World First Bus.

This year, DoCoMo plans to introduce about six types of i-mode-enabled handsets to Hutchison for sale in Hong Kong and Macau.

Hutchison, which has about 500,000 3G users, hopes to boost data revenue to offset declining voice revenue through i-mode.

According to Mr Natsuno, the key to i-mode success largely lies in the operator keeping the content providers happy by allowing them to gain reasonable profit.

"We only take 10-15 per cent commission from content providers, we are very generous to them because if they are happy, it ensures i-mode success," he said.
 
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